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WATCH: In the chamber, politics has to play - Minister Zulu

May 22 2015 10:27
Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said political parties were working together constructively in the portfolio committee to find solutions to develop small businesses in South Africa.

Zulu was speaking in an exclusive Fin24 studio interview a day after her maiden budget speech, in which opposition parties got to challenge her performance a year after the ministry was established.


Constructive criticism

DA MP and shadow minister of small business Toby Chance said in his budget rebuttal on Wednesday that when the ministry was first founded, he referred to Zulu as Cinderella.

“If she took the DA’s advice Minister Zulu could rid herself of the ugly step-sisters [dti minister] Rob Davies and [economic development minister] Ebrahim Patel and become the first business-friendly minister in President [Jacob] Zuma’s cabinet,” he said, adding that a year later, he saw her as “Sleeping Beauty”.

“I like constructive criticism,” Zulu told Fin24. “I don’t think I am perfect in everything and I believe that South Africa has a diversity of people. So it is important for us to have that tolerance of listening to each other.

“Everybody has got some contribution to make to what’s building our country,” said Zulu. “The portfolio committee [with] members from different political parties have been very positive in the portfolio committee meetings.

“I guess in the chamber, the politics has to play.”

Chance also noted the openness of the portfolio committee meetings in his speech. “At two recent portfolio committee meetings, Minister Zulu expressed her frustration at having inherited a department not towing the line,” he said. “I admire her frank assessment of the challenges she face.”

A good story to tell?

Chance said, however, that the impact of Zulu’s ministry in its first year “has been virtually invisible”.

In her interview with Fin24, Zulu said her ministry had a good story to tell.

“A year later, we have a department that is fully fledged, we have a budget of our own that we are going to be able to manage ourselves, [and] we have programmes that … are specifically targeted towards assisting small and medium enterprises and cooperatives,” she said.

“We believe the programmes we have developed are going to have the necessary impact,” she said.

Many of the programmes were inherited from the dti (Department of Trade and Industry) and Zulu said they were reviewing them to ensure they met her ministry’s goals.

New programmes were being designed to focus on youth, women and people living with disabilities, she said.

Now watch:

- We will hold government to account if they don't pay SMMEs - Zulu

- Red tape cutter will be Zulu’s weapon of choice

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