The Statistician-General of South Africa, Risenga Maluleke has today released the fourth quarter labour force survey. The survey indicates that the level of unemployment has declined by 1 percentage point to 26.7%. High unemployment remains a serious concerns for government. However as part of the National Development Plan vision 2030, government is committed to reduce the high levels of unemployment.
Department of Small Business Development has intensified its support towards Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs). The support of and implementation of programmes promoting the growth and sustainability of SMMEs, co-operatives, informal traders, township and rural enterprises is key priority for the entire public sector not only the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD).
Minister of Small Business Development Ms Lindiwe Zulu said that “Government is convinced that through small business and cooperatives development, we will be able to unlock economic opportunities and thus achieve inclusive economic growth and sustainable employment for the historically marginalised”. The revised BBBEE Codes are being implemented through which there is a focus on Enterprise Development and Supplier Development especially for SMMEs.
A key element of the Nine-Point Plan is the utilisation of public procurement as a tool to accelerate the development of SMMEs, Co-operatives, Township and Rural Enterprises through the allocation of 30% of the public procurement spend to these enterprises. This has been enabled by the 2017 revision of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act Regulations, mandating government departments to designate 30% of its procurement spend to SMMEs, Co-operatives, Township and Rural Enterprises. In order to ensure that this is effected across all spheres of government the DSBD has established National and Provincial Coordinating Committees to monitor the implementation of the set-asides. Already the data suggest that some provinces such as Gauteng, Free State and the Western Cape exceeded the 30% target in the 2016/17 financial year.
Through the Small Business Development Portfolio Strategy, the department of Small Business is working closely with the Small Enterprisie Development Agency (seda) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa) to unlock the potential of all SMMEs. A total of 291 enterprises were supported through the Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP) and 88 cooperatives through the Cooperatives Incentives Scheme (CIS). The department also trained 178 cooperatives that will be supported financially through the Cooperatives Incentives Scheme. In addition, the department supported 502 informal businesses with either approved business infrastructure or business skills. 178 cooperatives were trained in the following provinces: Western Cape (44 cooperatives), Eastern Cape (94 cooperatives) and Gauteng (40 cooperatives).
The National Gazelles Programme is Flagship programmes for department of Small Business that is implemented by Seda. It is a 10-year programme that aims to accelerate the growth of 40 high potential small businesses each year. A total of 80 companies have been supported through the National Gazelles Programme many of which are a promising pipeline for the Black Industrialist Programme. Sefa continues to prioritise women, youth and people with disabilities as part of addressing historic injustices suffered by vulnerable groups. Sefa has supported almost 37 000 SMMEs and Co-operatives last year resulting in over 42,000 jobs facilitated and sustained.
The Department of Small Business Development will remain committed to support SMMEs in order to grow the economy and create much needed jobs. Young people are encouraged to start their own business and seek support from the agencies of the department (SEDA and Sefa).
The private sector must also actively play their part and towards job creation.
The private sector must contribute as partners with Government and SMMEs, for more inclusive growth, investment and socio-economic transformation so that South Africa can achieve its National Development Plan Vision 2030. Working together we can move South Africa forward.
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