Selina Rapulane – 04 March 2021
Honourable President Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister for Small Business Development, Mrs Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, engaging with SMMEs and Co-operatives nationwide
On Thursday, 25 February, The Department of Small Business Development and its agencies, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) hosted a virtual Presidential engagement with Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), including Co-operatives, at the Vaal University of Technology Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park (VUTSGSTP) and other 44 districts and 8 metro municipalities nationwide.
This was a call from Minister for Small Business Development, Mrs Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and the Honourable President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa.
All venues were connected to the Union Building in Pretoria, where the President, as well as Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and Deputy Minister for Small Business Development, Mrs Zoleka Rosemary Capa, engaged with SMMEs nationwide. Mr Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
The theme of the Webinar was: “Open engagement with a view to rebuild an even stronger economy”. The programme was directed by the Chairperson of Small Enterprise Finance, Mr Martin Mahosi.
Minister Capa opened the engagement and welcomed everyone to the webinar. “Thank you for the opportunity to welcome our important guests and participants in this very important session. This opportunity is important as it allows us to fulfil the social contract given to us by the government and seek to rebuild the economy of this country. I look forward to other engagements of this nature throughout this year”, she affirmed.
Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni gave an address on the purpose of the engagement and a progress report on the implementation of the interventions. “Mr President, I must express my sincere gratitude to you for engaging with SMMEs. Your passion for the sector is what inspires us to continue to work despite the odds, to make sure that small businesses in particular, SMMEs and Cooperatives, are at the middle centre and refund of economic development in our country, as part of achieving the goal that you have set for us for a transformed and inclusive economy in our country”.
“Mr President the reason why we brought you here, and to showcase the work that we continue to do, is to communicate to South Africans to say, despite the challenges that confront us as a nation, there’s work that is being done. There are people out there who are entrepreneurs, who despite the pandemic, uplift themselves to modify their business models and are continuing to add value, through maintaining and creating jobs, and we are using them as a base for work revealed”, said Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni.
During the Presidential address to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa was thankful for the opportunity to address this long-awaited engagement with SMMEs as well as Co-operatives, a sector that has a leading role in driving our economy.
“In October last year I presented the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to the nation, which outlines the actions we must now take to rebuild our economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan aims to build an economy that benefits all our people and to achieve an inclusive economy, we need to more effectively support the growth of vibrant and sustainable SMMEs and Cooperatives”, said the President.
“As government, we cannot do everything on our own. To succeed, we need the support of our partners, especially in the private sector. I look forward to engaging with those businesses that have benefitted from various interventions provided by government. It is important to have these discussions so that we can measure the impact of this work”, he added.
In conclusion to his address, President Ramaphosa mentioned that the era of big corporates creating thousands of jobs has passed. “We have recognized that this is the era to open opportunities to entrepreneurs and we have set procurement targets to empower this sector”.
“Lastly, the AFCFTA that we signed opens up enormous scope and this sector should take up these opportunities. This is the sector that can penetrate the markets that are now open. Let us be the first to market and let us trade in a profitable way. I thank you”. He concluded.
The engagement made provisions for feedback from beneficiaries on the effectiveness of support programmes provided to SMMEs and Co-operatives, with insights on the role the enterprises can play, in the achievement of inclusive economic growth.
Participating entrepreneurs came from all districts and metros, where they are participating in the SMMEs Debt Relief Scheme, the Township and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme, the Manufacturing Scheme and the Access to Market Programme.
Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni concluded to the event with a vote of thanks.