Government's plan for SMMEs

JUNE 16, 2016

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says government has a clear plan to support Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) and to increase local production.

The Deputy President said in support of government’s nine-point plan, which President Jacob Zuma announced in the State of the Nation Address last year, government is working with business and labour on several critical interventions in the economy.

He said this when he delivered a Memorial Lecture on the life and times of labour union leader Elijah Barayi in Cape Town, on Tuesday.

“We have a clear plan to promote local procurement of goods and services and to increase local production. We have a plan to grow SMMEs and cooperatives and to support these through public procurement. Though we have achieved much for workers, we know there is still so much more that we need to do,” he said.

The Deputy President said the country has yet to overcome the high levels of structural unemployment that were all too familiar to Barayi and others during the dying years of apartheid.

He said while a lot of progress has been made to put a dent on unemployment, the country has not achieved levels of economic growth needed to create a desirable amount of jobs.

“We have increased access to education, but so many of our people still do not have the skills they need to succeed in the workplace. We have reduced levels of poverty, but still too many of our people – including some who have jobs – live in poverty. Our work is far from complete,” he said.

Addressing labour representatives on Tuesday night, the Deputy President said government has the means to build municipalities that provide services efficiently, that attract investment, stimulate growth and develop their people.

He said above all the achievements of the last 22 years, the most challenging tasks still lie ahead. He said in meeting these challenges, nothing is more important than a strong, united, cohesive and progressive trade union movement.

The country is currently engaged in the second phase of the transition, and as such, there is a need to transform the economy to equally serve the interests of all South Africans.

The Deputy President said this includes changing the patterns of ownership and control; ensuring that people have access to education, skills and opportunities and redistributing land, capital and natural resources. 

“As we work to overcome the dreadful legacy of colonialism and apartheid, we must confront the immediate challenges of weakened global demand, lower commodity prices and the impact that these have on the growth of our economy.

“We must also contend with electricity supply challenges, the effects of a devastating drought and constrained public finances. Not only does this constrain our ability to grow the economy and create jobs, it also has a devastating effect on the daily lives of working people.

“We will continue to work to meet the basic needs of all South Africans, extending our electrification programme to remaining areas, accelerating the upgrading of informal settlements and improving support to indigent households,” he said. –