Government must invest in machinery for cooperatives, says committee


The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development, Ms Ruth Bhengu, has called on the Department of Small Business Development to help cooperatives by investing in the machinery they require.

“Capital investment will be a better option than giving out grants, as they do not empower people but promote a culture of dependency. The country needs businesses that are effective, self-sustaining, income generating and which contribute to job creation,” Ms Bhengu said.

The Committee visited spaza shops, and cooperatives meant to empower disabled people in Soweto, Kagiso and Jeppestown, as well as developments designed to grow small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in Riversands and Midrand.

Small business owners raised challenges with, among other things, a lack of financial support, unfair competition from foreign nationals, the late payment of invoices by government, and policies that stifle the process of starting a business.

Ms Bhengu said the Committee had observed that the projects which worked were those driven by community leaders and not those managed by elected officials. “Government officials need to be in touch with people on the ground if they want to address the poverty question in the country. Business plans should also be informed by visits to small business enterprises and not by perceived needs,” she said.

“The country should easily achieve objectives of a working South Africa by 2030, as contained in the National Development Plan,” she said.


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