Minister, business icon discuss challenges in SA

Friday, September 27, 2019

Challenges in South Africa’s business sector came under the spotlight during a meeting between Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and the doyen of black business, Dr Sam Motsuenyane.

The two met at the veteran businessman and former ambassador’s home in Winterveldt which is located north-west of Pretoria.

The discussion included challenges of conducting business under the apartheid laws as well as challenges that plague small black business currently.

Challenges highlighted by Motsuenyane at the frank meeting between him and the Minister included access to business essentials like water rights, the payment of small business on time as well as funding challenges .

Insufficient infrastructure in some rural areas was also flagged.

“In the past we did not put emphasis on the development of rural communities with the result that today, when you go into our rural areas, you find that most people in the villages still have to buy everything from outside their area.

“Our rural areas are in need of an injection of developmental capital. That is where government has to focus,” he said on Friday.

The meeting formed part of the Minister’s series of engagements with pioneers and stalwarts of entrepreneurship and the township economy.

Motsuenyane, who was the founding chairman of African Bank as well president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) for over two decades, said South Africa needs to place more impetus on manufacturing.

“We are virtually a country of consumers and not producers, what do we sell? We should be a nation of producers and exporters of products we have generated ourselves,” said the 93-year old.

He also called on business to be self-reliant and innovative.

Ntshavheni described the meeting with Motsuenyane as inspiring.

“My engagement with Dr Motsuenyane has been very inspiring. It’s also bittersweet because as a doyen of black business in the country the fact that he’s got so many disappointments, has added pressure on me to deliver for black business,” said the Minister.

The Minister expressed hope that more will be done to advance small business in the lifetime of Motsuanyane and others.

“I hope in his lifetime and the lifetimes of other doyens of black business, we can deliver and make sure that when they go to their final place of rest, they can report to our ancestors [like] President Nelson Mandela and OR Tambo and tell them that our children are doing better, the future of our country is bright. So its pressure on me to make sure that we deliver,” she said.

The Minister said there’s a need to ensure that townships around the country become great spots of black business and excellence. –