Johannesburg - An absence of visionary leadership is a major
stumbling block for entrepreneurs in South Africa, Nedbank Group [JSE:NED]
chairperson Reuel Khoza said on Tuesday.
"Leadership at all levels should demonstrate a
commitment to creative freedom," he told delegates to a microfinance
conference in Sandton.
Small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMES) should form the
backbone of South Africa's economy.
"Big business and the state cannot provide enough
jobs," he said.
Entrepreneurs in the informal sector experience police
harassment. Within 18 months of existence, many SMMES "fall off a cliff
into an abyss".
"Some struggle on as subsistence businesses. They do
not grow beyond that."
A lack of finance is not necessarily the key obstacle.
Finance is in fact more available in South Africa than in many other
countries. The bigger problem is the lack of an enabling environment.
According to the World Bank, South Africa is one of the most
difficult countries in which to do business.
In Singapore, the state requires three simple procedures which take three days and cost 0.01% of per capita income to start a
In South Africa, five complicated procedures are needed.
These take 19 days and cost 0.3% of income, said Khoza.
Several leaders, including President Jacob Zuma, have spoken
of the need to develop townships into thriving centres of business.
"This will remain a dream until it becomes easier to do
business," Khoza warned.