Fixation on politics hampers transformation - Zulu | Fin24
 
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Fixation on politics hampers transformation - Zulu

Sep 26 2016 16:38
Lameez Omarjee

Johannesburg – South Africa needs to find alignment between government policy and its approach and decisions made among departments and agencies to turn things around for a radical economic transformation, said Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu.

Zulu, speaking at the Black Business Council (BBC) conference at the Radisson Blu hotel in Sandton on Monday, highlighted that South Africa’s transformation journey had been long partly because the country was focused on developing political stability, to the detriment of economic transformation.

“We need to dig deeper into the power we think we have,” she said. Zulu pointed out that the black majority was still minority players in the economy. “We can’t keep looking back at the past 20 years. We must look to a better 30 years from now,” she said.

She added that previous conferences and summits had focused “too much” on the political side of things, as opposed to the economic side of things.

Zulu said her department was focused on kicking down doors that block the entry of black business into the mainstream South African economy. The structure of the economy should start addressing black economic empowerment and the issues of unemployment and inequality, she said.

READ: Black business left out for generations, says Zulu

“After being in this role for two years I have been exposed to the weaknesses in the system,” she said, these being poor coordination to upscale and support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Further there is a gap in knowledge among government and various departments when it comes to implementing policy and monitoring and evaluating development, she said. 

Zulu implored private sector parties to invest and support SME developments, but not as a “tick box” approach, but rather to be actively involved in achieving transformation goals. “Government cannot remain a buffer between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots.”

She said that the private sector is where all the wealth and the structure of the economy was controlled. “We need to recognise we did things in the past making it difficult for us to change what we want to change,” she said, referring to the apartheid regime.

Zulu added that South Africa should “re-engineer” the way things are done to be more inclusive of growth and business opportunities. This includes venturing beyond the country’s borders and finding opportunities within Africa.

“We can’t ignore fact we are part of the global world. SMEs are scared to venture into other parts… We are sitting here thinking the pie is only in South Africa.”

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