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Keynote address by Jeff Radebe, Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; at the occasion of the Township Business Innovation  Seminar;at Rabasotho Hall,Tembisa, 

18 November 2017

Thank you, Programme Director:

Bulelani Balabala, from the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance

Charmaine Houvet, from Cisco

Delegates from the various stakeholders

Business representatives present here

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to be part of the Third Annual Township Business Innovation Seminar organized by the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA). I believe that the TEA has got a great potential to play a catalytic role in augmenting the development of entrepreneurs in the townships and open up new market opportunities. This is one way in which we can develop businesses in the townships and contribute significantly to economic growth.

I am encouraged by the entrepreneurial spirit of young people like Bulelani Balabala and his partners, who do not wait for handouts. Having had the privilege of interacting with Bulelani over the past couple of months, I can confidently say he is a combination of innovation and perseverance personified. A great visionary. Bulelani is an entrepreneur with great passion and impeccable business acumen. I am glad that he is part of such an inspired collective in the township.

The Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA) is made up individuals who collectively took it upon themselves to create spa​ces for entrepreneurship and economic growth in their own areas. They have created a platform for township entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to engage, learn, access mentorship, and skills necessary to start and operate a business.  This initiative affirms township economy. It demonstrates that there is a niche market that can make immense contribution in the development of township economies.

South Africa needs such innovative ideas in order to boost economic growth. Future projections indicate that an estimated 65% of Children entering primaryschool today will most likey work in roles that do not yet exist.New inventions bring about both challenges and opportunities. This compels us to seek innovative ways of conducting business and discovering new market opportunities. Young people must be actively involved in establishing new mechanisms of conducting viable businesses that are in sync with the inventions of the 21st century.

As government, we have adopted clearly defined policies and procedures to ensure that we support SMME’s and give first preference to black-owned business enterprises. The more successful local businesses we have, the better the economic standing of South Africa in the world.

We are guided by the prescripts of the National Development Plan (NDP), our lodestar in our collective journey towards the year 2030. The NDP recognises the importance of improving our country’s global competitiveness and that the system of innovation has a vital role to play in that process.

Entrepreneurship is one of the most vital undertakings to change the socio-economic landscape.  The NDP anticipates that 90% of the new 11 million jobs to be created by 2030 will come from SMME development.

It is imperative that both government and business work together in order to stimulate significant economic growth in our country. We must change the socio-economic condition of the masses of our people. A number of countries worldwide stimulate industrial development through local procurement, and South Africa is no different in this regard.

We are acutely aware that starting a business in a township is not easy. You have to overcome a number of obstacles imposed by the unfavorable economic conditions. Perseverance and business acumen are fundamental elements if you are an SMME who aspires to run a lucrative business successfully in the township.

It was in view of the slow pace of transformation and lack of inclusivity in the economy that government introduced the Radical Socio-Economic Transformation programme. This programme is the driving force behind our approach to expedite socio-economic transformation. This radical shift in our transformation agenda requires that we follow the guidance of the NDP Vision 2030 in exploiting optimally the strategic levers that are available at our disposal.

We need to build a country with an economy that can sustainably meet the material needs of all its citizens. People residing in townships and peri-urban areas, who for a long time have been excluded from full participation in the economy will have access to support and development services and be fully integrated into the core of our economic landscape

We must revitalize township and rural economies by supporting the development of black-owned enterprises, cooperatives and Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs). Entrepreneurs in these areas can produce goods and services to satisfy the demand of residents in the townships. They know the market demands in their communities better than anyone else.

We understand the devastating effects that delays in payment of service providers have especially to the SMMEs. There is a mandatory thirty days period within which suppliers doing business with government must be paid.

I encourage businesses not to suffer in silence and report whenever government departments take longer to pay them. Our door as government is always open. Please make use of instruments like the Presidential Hotline, and report incidents of corruption or undue delays in payment.

It is against this backdrop that our Department established the NDP Youth Brand Ambassador programme. We want to mobilise young South Africans to be active role-players in economic growth. As government, our mission is to transform the economic landscape and make it more inclusive and address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The NDP Youth Brand Ambassador Programme was conceived as an intervention aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship to boost economic growth, create employment, and address the scourge of poverty and gross inequalities. We envisioned the programme as a significant contributor towards the attainment of the national imperatives of creating an inclusive and more dynamic economic landscape.

Bulelani is one of 37 NDP Youth Brand Ambassadors who have been selected from across the nine provinces of South Africa. The young people who are part of this programme are some of the most outstanding innovators, entrepreneurs and career trailblazers in our country. They are remarkable achievers in their respective fields and will help us champion the ideals espoused by the NDP – our Vision 2030.

The NDP Ambassador Programme is premised on promoting youth entrepreneurship to boost economic growth, increase employment, and reduce poverty and inequality. Yesterday, we had the pleasure of announcing businesses that have joined hands with us in this initiative. We are confident that together we will develop a generation of youth who are not perpetual job seekers, but employment creators.

This initiative is in line with the government strategy of promoting businesses in the townships and rural areas. The NDP pays particular attention to entrepreneurship as one of the most vital interventions to create jobs and grow an inclusive and diversified economy. More than 75% of our economy is in the hands of the private sector. Our estimation is that the rate of investment to the GDP will rise from 17% to 30% by 2030. This emphasizes the importance of the business sector in our economic growth.

The success of the NDP and other government interventions is dependent largely on active citizenry and direct involvement of people from all sectors of society. We believe that active citizenry and building a capable developmental state are key to ensuring that we deliver satisfactorily on the mandate given to us by the electorate.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Bulelani and his partners for embarking on this endeavour. The TEA presents a unique opportunity for the empowerment of township entrepreneurs with skills, knowledge, enterprise development and access to markets. This initiative will indeed rivatilise township economies and make a difference in the lives of ordinary people. We must develop township businesses to become part of the mainstream economy in South Africa. 

I encourage everyone to support the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA). It should inspire township entrepreneurs especially young people to come up with innovative business concepts. This is an initiative that should be replicated in townships and rural communities across the country. Let every young people come up with an innovative idea to contribute to the economic development in the townships.

As young people, this is your opportunity to lead the way, thread the unbeaten paths, and discover gold underneath your feet. It takes an idea, initiative, vision and dedication. May this initiative bring us more township entrepreneurs.


I thank you.

Enquiries: / 083 276 0786 or Mmabatho Ramompi on 076 4803513 or

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Issued by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)

19 November 2017 ​

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