President Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP) ~ AFP
Johannesburg - Despite government support, women-owned businesses are still battling and remain trapped in the informal economy, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
"Government has programmes in place to support women entrepreneurs such as Isivande Women’s Fund, [the] Bavumile programme and Technology for Women in Business," Zuma said in a speech prepared for delivery.
"Despite this support, women enterprises are still battling and remain trapped in the informal economy."
Zuma was speaking at a Women's Day event in Bushbuckridge, Limpopo.
He said research by government showed that the slow progress by businesses ran by women was a result of "fragmented support mechanisms".
"Government is exploring the establishment of a 'one-stop-shop' for women entrepreneurs that would provide services such as access to finance, markets, information, technology and infrastructure."
Zuma said improving access to justice for women remained important.
Over the next three years government would spend R3.1bn on the construction of courts and other infrastructure projects.
"A further R96m will be spent on day-to-day maintenance and R291m on the rehabilitation of court facilities," he said.
Government had also increased the value of money that could be claimed in small claims courts from R7000 to R12 000 in order to assist those who owed money.
The aim was to have a small claims court in all the 387 magisterial districts, said Zuma.
The fight against women and child abuse continued to rank high in government's priorities.
Earlier this week, government announced the re-opening of sexual offences courts so that those who commit crimes against women and children could be dealt with decisively.
"The courts will complement the work of the police family violence, child protection and sexual offences units," he said.
The conviction rate in crimes committed against women and children continued to improve.
"A total of 1194 life sentences were handed out by the courts to offenders between 2010 and 2013.
"For crimes against children below 18, the conviction rate was 75% during the financial year, and for crimes against women aged 18 and above, the conviction rate was 83%."
Zuma also acknowledged the work being done by celebrated South African women across the globe.