Budget Vote 36 for the Department of Trade and Industry by Deputy Minister, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, at the Old Assembly Chamber, Parliament on 15 May 2013

Honourable Speaker;
Members of the National Assembly;
MEC’s and Heads of Departments;
Officials of the Department Trade and Industry and its Council of Trade and
Industry Institutions (COTII);
Members of SAWEN
Leaders of Organised Business and Labour;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to specifically recognise:

  • My 2012 Technogirls competition winners from Ponelopele Secondary School, in Ivory Park, Thembisa;
  • and the Technogirl from the Northern Cape, Ms Boitumelo Olifant;
  • Nomarika Motaung, my mentee;
  • Kgotso Mokoele, an incubatee from SECOPA manufacturing hub;
  • Mangqoba Katane- A young man who’s very passionate about small business development, currently working with an incubation centre known as SECOPA as a social media guru;
  • Sister Jenny, the winner for South Africa and first runner up for Africa for 2012 Africa SMME awards, for her skin repair products for burns and wounds;
  • Mamalolo, a beneficiary of our tourism support programme and a former lecturer who now owns a B ‘n B in Soweto.
  • Sister Jenny, the 2012 Africa SMME award winner.

The current administration’s central focus has been on creation of decent jobs, economic transformation and creating an inclusive economic growth. These are some of the key strategic priorities identified in the 2009-2014 medium-term strategic framework that was later translated into government outcomes.  the dti further articulated these key priorities in its 2010-2013 Medium Term Strategic Framework. Therefore, it is imperative that we reflect on the achievements that have been recorded in these areas.

Women and Gender Empowerment
The National Development Plan identified poverty, unemployment and inequality as the major challenges facing our country. Women and youth have not been fully integrated into our economic system. The Department understands that economic emancipation should be broadened to include women and youth who were excluded in the mainstream economic activities of the country in the past.

It is against this backdrop, that the dti introduced programmes that are tailor-made for women, such as the Isivande Women’s Fund, Bavumile and Technology for Women in Business (TWIB). The Isivande fund aims to provide women entrepreneurs with affordable financial support. Between 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years, the Fund supported 31 projects. The Bavumile Programme provides training to women in the clothing sector while TWIB with its awards programme recognises women enterprises which used technology to grow and develop their businesses.

While we recognise the need to afford women opportunities to participate in the economy, we need to encourage our young girls to pursue technology, mathematics, commercial and science related careers. The Technogirls programme is a vehicle that the Department is utilising to achieve this objective. In this regard, the dti has partnered with provincial departments of Economic Development and Education, SEDA and Cell C in delivering the programme.

In addition, the department will be tabling the National Strategic Framework on Women’s Economic Empowerment to Cabinet in the course of the 2013/14 financial year. The strategy aims to ensure the development and growth of women owned enterprises as well the integration of women enterprises in the mainstream economy through the provision of targeted interventions.

Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperatives
The Department considers entrepreneurship development as strategic to broadening economic participation since we understand that economic success and development of many economies is anchored around increased participation of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) in the mainstream economy. We believe that SMMEs form a principal driving force of economic growth and development. In this regard, we undertook to accelerate the delivery and up-scaling of support particularly to black-owned, rural and township SMMEs as well as cooperative programmes. Through SEDA’s network of financial service providers (known as Retail Financial Intermediaries (RFI)), we have further improved access to finance for SMME’s.

Also through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the ANC led government has been implementing the Risk Capital Facility (RCF) 2 in the last seven (7) years with the aim of granting risk capital finance to historically disadvantaged people. To date 3 400 BEE shareholder companies, 72 BEE empowered SMEs and 1 605 women shareholders have been supported resulting in a total of 7 024 jobs created.

the dti in collaboration with the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) developed a red tape reduction programme to address regulatory constraints created by local municipalities. The programme seeks to lower barriers to entry and stimulate access to business opportunities by small enterprises.

the dti believes that sustained support to SMMEs should be an integral part of social and economic development. The merger of the national government’s major credit programmes for small and micro enterprise has been finalised and a new agency SEFA was established in May 2012.

It is imperative that the government continues to build entrepreneurial capacity in order to address the socio-economic challenges that are facing us. In this context, the dti through SEDA launched the Small business incubation programme in 2012. The programme seeks to nurture small, micro and medium enterprises into sustainable enterprises that can create jobs and contribute towards economic development. To this end we launched SECOPA (Seed Container Park) in SOWETO on the 27th of March 2013.

It will ensure that SMMEs eventually graduate into the mainstream economy, creating successful enterprises with a potential to revitalise communities and strengthen local economies. The success of the programme will be measured by the number of enterprises that graduated into the mainstream economy and employment created. Currently, the incentive is supporting 13 projects to the value of R373 million in sectors such as ICT, agro-processing and clothing and textile amongst other.

Together with the Foundation of African Business and Consumer Services (FABCOS) the dti launched agro-processing investments worth R1.2 billion to assist in growing sustainable HDI-owned or controlled SMMEs and support the retailer/supplier development model. These investments are in small-scale milling, malt plants, snack plants, blended foods and incubator farms.  We also launched the Emerging Organic Farmer/Retailer Programme, with Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite and Spar providing shelf space and support to emerging organic farmers’ cooperatives.  We have also launched 4 walk-in-25 mini-markets in Gauteng.

To fast track timely payment to SMMEs a call centre was established through SEDA to facilitate payment to SMMEs contracting with government within 30 days. The 30 day payment has been elevated to the Presidency with departments submitting their monthly reports. The SEDA call centre has performed well, facilitating the payment of over R300 million to SMMEs.

Honourable members, we have reviewed the Cooperatives Development Act with a view to enhancing institutional mechanism such as the establishment of the Cooperatives Development Agency, the cooperatives Apex body and the cooperatives Tribunal. The agency will provide business development support to cooperatives while the Cooperatives Tribunal will adjudicate over conflict and the Apex body will represent the interest of cooperatives.

The ANC led government is also serious about the informal sector and youth empowerment and in this regard, the Youth Enterprise Development Strategy has been drafted and consultations with key stakeholders are at an advanced stage while the Informal Sector Strategy is being developed.

Black industrialists
The creation of black industrialists is one of the key priorities of the department of Trade and Industry. To fulfil this responsibility, as the Minister has indicated, the department has amended the B-BBEE legislation and Code of Good Practice with a view to creating an enabling environment for the restructuring of the South African economy to enable a meaningful participation of black people, women, youth and people living with disabilities.
We have also partnered with UNISA and WITS University to offer a B-BBEE Management Development Programme. The programme is aimed at professionalizing the B-BBEE industry, more specifically the verification industry as part of creating an enabling environment conducive to the development of black industrialists.

In conclusion, it is clear that the ANC led Government remains committed to the embetterment of the economic situation of our people.

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