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Help at hand for small business

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor (Image: University of Pretoria) Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor (Image: University of Pretoria)

Government is forging ahead with its plans to promote more inclusive growth and an environment that enables small businesses to flourish.

These efforts have seen about 280 rural enterprises, 181 township enterprises and 147 existing SMMEs being assisted with skills and start-up support so that they can run their businesses successfully.

The Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP) has supported a further 130 SMMEs, which in turn supported 2,116 jobs, while the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa), in partnership with Coca-Cola, has committed an additional R120m to support SMMEs in townships.

This was revealed by the Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development Cluster during a media briefing on Tuesday on progress made in implementing the Programme of Action.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor told the media that the Cooperative Incentive Scheme also helped 44 co-operatives build their initial asset base and further supported 65 co-operatives through capacity building programmes.

The cluster also reported that in the past few months, the value of the innovative approach to competition by the Economic Development Department was demonstrated through the Coca-Cola bottling plant merger and the acquisition of SAB Miller by the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev.

Pandor said between the two transactions, a sum of R1.8bn will be set aside to promote economic activity by small-scale black farmers, black-owned retail outlets and other businesses that bring historically-disadvantaged South Africans into the economy.

AB InBev will make more than R600m available to develop a local supply chain that will include 800 new small-scale black farmers. In addition to this funding, Coca-Cola agreed to set aside 20% of the equity in the group for black South Africans and to ensure a similar percentage of shares are set aside for BEE partners in Appletiser.

“It will also enable spaza shop owners to use 10% of fridge and cooler space paid for by Coca-Cola to stock rival products, particularly from small soft drink bottlers, some of which are owned by black South Africans.

“In the AB InBev deal similarly, the black-owned beer brand, Soweto Gold, will now be entitled to be stocked in SAB Miller-owned fridges and display units at taverns. Incidentally, Soweto Gold is also supported by the IDC [Industrial Development Corporation.]”

Revitalisation of industrial parks

The cluster also reported that the revitalisation of industrial parks in townships is well underway.

The revitalisation of the Botshabelo Industrial Park in the Free State was completed in June, while the first phase of the revitalisation of Seshego Industrial Park in Limpopo -- which included security, fencing and electricity upgrades -- has been completed. The construction of the Makhado/Musina Industrial Park in Limpopo is in progress.

Pandor said SMMEs and local communities will benefit greatly from jobs, improved infrastructure and economic opportunities unlocked by the revitalised industrial parks.

Agri-parks

Good progress was also noted in the establishment of agri-parks.

The cluster said two agri-parks are fully operational in Ncora in the Eastern Cape and Springbokpan in the North West, while six other Agri-Parks are at construction phase.

“Together with the farmers and private sector, we will unlock markets and export opportunities for agri-parks,” Pandor said.

Smallholder farmers

The cluster has also helped smallholder farmers by bringing underutilised land into production. It has also helped to rehabilitate land.

Pandor said 17,456 hectares of strategically located land was acquired and allocated, while 44,588 hectares of land was allocated to smallholder producers in this quarter.

About 9,155 smallholder producers were supported through various initiatives schemes.

“In the quarter, 1,134 hectares of underutilised land was brought into production. We have also empowered previously disadvantaged farm workers and farm dwellers to become smallholder producers by providing them with access to productive, arable land.

“In doing so, we have changed their living conditions, ensured security of tenure and facilitated their ability to earn an income.”

One Household - One Hectare programme

Government, through the One Household - One Hectare programme, has assisted 620 households to obtain security of tenure on land to enable them to grow their own food and participate in the local economy.

A further 22 youth co-operatives will benefit from the Fortune 40 Programme, which trains young people in agricultural activities across the value chain.

About 102 additional land reform farms are currently under the Recapitalisation and Development Programme. Thirteen sites have been approved for implementing the Strengthening of Relative Rights for People Working the Land (50/50) Programme.

107,740 hectares of land is in rehabilitation under the “Working for/on” Programmes. 13,394 hectares of land have been rehabilitated under the Land Care Programme.

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