Speech by Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, the Honourable Bongi Maria Ntuli MP, at the launch of the Black Business Supplier Development Programme

Programme Director, Clement Manoko
Ms Tsepiso Makgothi, Acting DDG of TEO
Dr Meshack Khoza from Fresh Thinking Capital
Mr Francisco Campos from the World Bank
Officials from the Department of Trade and Industry
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to address you here today

My job today has been made easy by the presentations that have already been made by various speakers. We have heard all the technical speak related to the Black Business Supplier Development Programme or BBSDP but what is the political context, what is the people context?

We know that after 16 years of democracy we are still battling to change the face of our economy. Transformation has proved to be a slow and often painful process.

Part of the reason for this lack of transformation is the fact that access to finance, especially for those previously excluded from the economic mainstream remains a barrier to participating meaningfully in the economy.

The programme that is launched today addresses the principles behind the B-BBEE policy and should be seen as one of the implementation tools of the B-BBEE policy as it is supporting the policy by ensuring that small black businesses with potential are given the necessary assistance to grow their enterprises and become more competitive.

Through Black Business Supplier Development Programme, businesses that exhibit potential for growth will be fast tracked. The programme also fosters linkages between black SMME’s and the corporate and public sector. Procurement managers of large corporate institutions as well as of State Owned Enterprises are critical in ensuring that small businesses are supported in the area of business linkages.

Ladies and gentlemen the BBSDP is but one of the answers to this challenge of access to finance because we all know that ‘one swallow does not make a summer’. This programme must dovetail or complement other existing schemes and programmes that give support to small business.

I was assured by the officials who briefed me that there is also a plan to launch this programme in all the provinces as well as working together with local economic development officials in municipalities. I am happy that this will be done and I assure you of my support for the provincial rollout. The Provinces must feel it, it is coming. Now is the time to be a cohesive force for change. We can no longer work in our own little corners, for our own personal glory.

Since this is the start of a trial run I am confident that whatever teething problems we find will be addressed in this pilot phase. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the officials when addressing my concerns yesterday and appeal to everyone who has to implement this programme to do so with vigour, with a sense of urgency and with integrity.

Let’s also cut the red tape often linked to incentives of this nature, let’s speed up processing of applications without compromising due diligence.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a vision to see that the disused factories, especially those in the former ‘homelands areas’ are being revived with vibrant industries. This is in answer to the abject poverty and high unemployment in the rural areas. This programme can be optimally used to create opportunities in rural areas.

Ladies and gentlemen, often we launch programmes and we assume our communities will get to know about them. As we launch let us also publicise our products. Let us not overly rely on the fact that people can see the information on the website.

Access to information technology is still limited for many communities. Use the community radio stations, our outreach programmes, even popular magazines like Drum and Move. Use all the platforms we know of, use the community forums, churches, and stokvels and business formations.

Ladies and gentlemen, the success of this programme will not be on whether we have managed to spend the allocated budget but whether we have been able to make a difference to people’s lives. Have we managed to close the gap between those who have and those who do not have.

Let us all join together and make this programme a success.

Thank you.

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