Midrand – Government says it will prioritise the expansion of economic opportunities to improve the livelihood of South Africans and eradicate poverty.
The need to support small businesses at national and local government level was highlighted as one of the key issues that will help the country to realise radical economic transformation.
Addressing delegates at the 3rd Presidential Local Government Summit held in Midrand on Friday, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said all three spheres of government must work together to expand economic opportunities near where people live.
“We have a mandate from South Africans to overcome persistent backlogs and inequities in service delivery through improved intergovernmental planning and budgeting processes,” said the Deputy President.
The two-day summit highlighted the importance of good planning as an enabler of local economic development.
“We have achieved much in the last two decades. Let us work together to achieve even more. We have made a solemn commitment to serve the people,” said the Deputy President.
At the conclusion of the summit, which started on Thursday, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu told SAnews she was excited that all spheres of government are beginning to realise the importance of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME).
“The discussions and resolutions that were taken at the summit to focus on SMMEs go to show that we are trying our best as government to be conscious of what can be achieved if SMMEs receive enough support in the economic development of South Africa in general,” said the Minister.
She said Local Economic Development Offices at local government level must be supported, have the right people with the relevant qualifications and be given reasonable financial support so that they are able to support SMMEs.
SMMEs will be empowered to make sure that the country realises radical economic transformation, which is a rallying call from President Jacob Zuma’s February State of the Nation Address.
The Minister said support should not only come from the Small Business Development Ministry or national government, but local government must also be serious about the support it needs to give SMMEs because municipalities are closer to citizens.
Recapping on what was discussed by the panels on Thursday, the first day of the summit, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Andries Nel said role players must use all legislated opportunities to promote radical social and economic transformation.
“All municipalities must have programmes to empower informal traders and micro suppliers to ensure that they can enter the supply chain processes,” said the Deputy Minister.
He said supply chain procedures must be reviewed and simplified to allow new entrants easy access to opportunities.