Johannesburg - Direct selling has the potential to dramatically
impact on unemployment levels in South Africa by creating thousands of
jobs for youth and women, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
said on Wednesday.
The low barrier of entry into the industry enabled
people without education to engage in the economy and, through
enthusiasm and hard work, earn enough to sustain themselves and pay for
their children's university education, she added.
Sisulu was speaking at the 40th anniversary celebration
of the Direct Selling Association of South Africa in Sandton. In the
audience were the country's most successful direct sellers from a host
The local direct selling industry was recruiting, on
average, 100 000 new people a year - at a time when the global economy
was in recession.
Sisulu said she thought when the SA National Defence
Force recruited 20 000 youths a year it was making a difference to
unemployment, but this could not compete with the direct selling
“It is also an industry that enables people to improve
their skills - whether this is to learn bookkeeping or to just manage
their own finances. This industry, especially for black people, has huge
potential,” she said.
Sisulu said direct selling encouraged a culture of entrepreneurship which was lacking in South Africa.
“What I notice when I visit a country like India is how
everybody is busy with something. I hope that direct selling (and the
entrepreneurship it inspires) can draw in the youth of South Africa.”
This would assist government in resolving the massive crisis in youth unemployment.
“The direct selling industry has the potential to offer South Africa a solution to unemployment.”
There were also no restrictions on what a person could
earn, with some astute young direct sellers already claiming to enjoy
What was encouraging was that the industry was governed by strict ethical standards and ensured compliance from members.
“That 86% of the people in this industry are
women is phenomenal. It has created opportunities that have freed women
from the bonds that tied them to their homes and encouraged equality
between the sexes.”
The fact the majority of women in the profession were black was cause for hope, she added.
“The growth of direct selling is vital for the economy
of the country, (and) for women, especially African women, and for (the)