State needs to be more bold in creating black industrialists – BBC

The Black Business Council (BBC) has bemoaned that there were hurdles that prevented black industrialists across the country from thriving.

The organisation also called for the government to exercise urgency and seriousness in creating black manufacturers.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Black Industrialists Summit that took place at the Sandton Convention Centre on Wednesday, BBC chief executive Kganki Matabane said the challenges faced by black industrialists relate to access to both funding and markets.

“It takes 24 months for funding applications for black industrialists to be approved,” said Matabane.

“This is unacceptable because when there is a business opportunity, it is usually there for a maximum of six months. You cannot wait for that long [24 months] for funding to be approved.”

Procurement opportunities

He also raised concerns about the government’s failure to set aside a percentage of procurement opportunities for black industrialists.

He explained: “One way we did badly [as a country] is access to contracts and procurement opportunities. There was no legislation for the government to compel government departments and state-owned companies to give opportunities to black industrialists.

“Even if someone gets funding from [state-owned financier], the Industrial Development Corporation, they weren’t able to get procurement opportunities from government departments or SOCs [state-owned companies] because the legislation didn’t allow for setting aside opportunities for black industrialists.

“We’ve worked with the government to work on what is called the Public Procurement Bill, and we hope the president will be able to sign it before the end of the term of the current administration.”

He explained that the legislation would set aside a certain percentage of government contracts for businesses owned by black people, women, people living with disabilities, and youth.

“We can, for instance, decide that when we build RDP houses, all the window frames or bricks must come from businesses owned by women.

“With the current legislation, we can’t do that. It is not allowed. The government will be taken to court, and it will be found that you are contravening the law.”

Suing the state

He said once the bill becomes law, the BBC will be able to sue the state should it fail to comply with the legislation by implementing set-asides.

Matabane also called for the government to increase its risk appetite when it comes to funding black industrialists.

“The challenge is that 30 years into democracy, we’ve only created 900 black industrialists.

“This shows we are not creating enough black industrialists because they are not creating enough jobs to absorb the 75% unemployed youth and 45% expanded general unemployment.

“If we can create and fund 100 000 black industrialists and they create 50 jobs each, then you’ll be able to assist the country in dealing with unemployment.

“It is important that in the next 10 years, we set a bigger target of 100 000 jobs so that we could be able to create employment.”

R350 social grant

He added that the government needs to be decisive in funding black industrialists.

“We should use the very same energy that we are using to provide grants for South Africans who are unemployed to fund businesses owned by black industrialists,” Matabane said.

“Once you have given the R350 to someone who is unemployed, you’ll never get it back.

“If, for example, we fund 200 000 of black industrialists, even if we lose 100 000 of those businesses and we lose the money, we have the opportunity to recover the money from the 100 that are successful.

Visit SW YouTube Channel for our video content

Latest News