New minister tackles issues surrounding small business sector

The role of small business in job creation is widely recognised, although it is important to be sensitive to the challenges faced by the sector, according to Lindiwe Zulu, the woman in charge of South Africa’s newly established Department of Small Business Development.“It’s about dialoguing with them to see where the challenges are,” Zulu told SAnews after she was sworn in as the new minister of the department on Monday (26 May).
“This is a new ministry, but the sector is not new,” she said before acknowledging the efforts that the Department of Trade and Industry and other departments had contributed.
“For us it will be about pulling out that work and seeing what has worked and what hasn’t.”
She explained that skills development and financing were some of the challenges for small businesses.
“Sometimes people get a little money and they think that they’ve got a lot, only to realise that that money wasn’t really enough. So the issue of saving among our people is also very important.”
According to Zulu, who was the former International Affairs adviser, she has travelled extensively around the continent and witnessed how small businesses prosper in other countries – and how foreign nationals who come to South Africa start up small businesses that flourish.
The minister explained: “You look at some of the foreigners that are in South Africa today. They arrive in South Africa with almost nothing, but they network, they support each other. Those are the things I think one would have to deal with in assisting SMMEs, because there’s got to be a connection, networking and support for each other.”
The department is expected to delve in to the issues that government does not pay small businesses within the prescribed 30-days.
Meanwhile, the department vowed to engage with the country’s financial institutions and assist in having small business owners organised in to formations. –