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                                                                                                            31 MARCH 2017
Thank you, Programme Director:
My cabinet colleague, Minister of Small Business Development, the honourable Lindiwe Zulu
The Founder and CEO of EzaseKasi Business Fridays, Siyanda Mtulu
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a singular honour and a privilege for me to be here this evening to bear witness to this milestone of Ezasekasi Business Fridays. There is nothing that pleases me more than witnessing the development of an idea into tangible and effective programmes.
When I heard about the EzaseKasi Business Fridays initiative last year, I knew that only a township resident could come up with such a concept. You must have extensive experience of residing in the area to realise that townships bustle with life from Friday until the end of the weekend.
Innovative minds can easily identify business opportunities in that dynamic life. The combination of township entrepreneurship and golf is not the most natural one. Today we find this combination serving as a powerful tool to bridge the gap between big and small business sectors.
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.
Siya, the CEO and Founder of this initiative, is perseverance personified. He has been pursuing officials from my office for as long as I can remember. He always makes it a point to attend all my public events whenever possible. How can you not lend an ear to a man who is that determined?
Now that I am finally here, I do not have the slightest of regrets for considering his project. I am sure that Minister Lindiwe Zulu is also proud to see the project coming into fruition. For Ezasekasi affirms township economy. It demonstrates that there is abundance of untapped business opportunities in our townships. This I a niche market that has a potential to make immense contribution in the development of township economies.
This is an initiative that should be replicated in townships and rural communities across the country. The name of the project, Ezase-Kazi, says it all. This is an initiative that is aimed at boosting entrepreneurship to revitalize and diversify township economies.  It should inspire township entrepreneurs especially young people to come up with innovative business concepts.
This initiative is in line with the government strategy of promoting businesses in the townships and rural areas. In my capacity as the Minister in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, I am entrusted with the responsibility of championing and serving as the custodian for the National Development Plan (NDP). The NDP, our Vision 2030, pays particular attention to entrepreneurship as one of the most vital interventions to create jobs and grow an inclusive and diversified economy.
As the Department, we monitor and evaluate progress on the implementation of government policies, plans and programmes towards the NDP Vision 2030 goals of addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality, and outline remedial measures where needed. 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.
According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, South Africa continues to lag behind other emerging market economies in terms of the survival rate of new enterprises. The business world is a shark infested sea where small fish get swallowed as soon as they show signs of development.
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. The business sector is crucial in ensuring that we achieve these ambitious targets.
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.
As government, we have adopted clearly defined policies and procedures to ensure that we support SMME’s and give first preference to black-owned businesses. The more successful local businesses we have, the better the economic standing of South Africa in the world.
The government created enterprise support agencies, which have disbursed billions of rands over the years. However, all these funds have not yielded any demonstrable results in terms of boosting emerging enterprises in the township.
It was in view of the slow pace of transformation and lack of inclusivity in the economy that the ANC government introduced the Radical Socio-Economic Transformation programme.
This programme is the driving force behind the government’s approach to expedite socio-economic transformation. The emphasis here is on fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy by the disenfranchised black people.
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.
Just over a week ago, members of the National Planning Commission, Dr Thami Mazwai and Mr Elias Masilela, were here Khayelitsha to talk about opportunities that the NDP presents for township entrepreneurs. I encourage emerging businesses, particularly those operating in the townships, to participate in these workshops so that they know more about government programmes and how they can benefit from them.
We will utilize the strategic levers that are available at our disposal as government. This includes legislation, regulations, licensing, budget and procurement as well as Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Charters to drive transformation. The 30% procurement rule, where with every government contract a portion must go to a black-owned SMME, will soon come into effect. 
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.
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 delays in payment.
Earlier today, I met with very innovative young people, including the nominees and winners of this year’s South African Youth Awards. I was telling them about the importance of active citizenry. You will not be able to change anything if you are just armchair critics. The ANC government is a government of the people. You must take part in our democratic processes and have a robust engagement with government.
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 once again congratulate Siya and his partners for embarking on this endeavor. This initiative will indeed revitalize township economies and make a difference in the lives of ordinary people. I encourage everyone to support this initiative.
Thank you.
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