Be bold, Manuel urges SA’s entrepreneurs

Although South Africa’s economic growth rate of an average of 2,8% per annum in the period 1994 to last year was more than twice that of the developed world’s 1,3% average, this high growth was not sufficient to address the high unemployment rate in South Africa, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel said on Monday evening.

Addressing a seminar at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) on “The role of business leadership in driving growth in South Africa”, Manuel said four issues needed to be confronted by business leaders.

These four issues were: creating employment, productivity, diversifying manufacturing, and access to services such as banking and information.

“We have a trifurcated labour market where employment is declining in the old economic sectors such as farming and mining, only slow growth in the new economic sectors such as services and mixed growth in the informal sector. What

we need to do is bridge the gap between high-end job skills and no skills and it is for this reason that the skills development levy was introduced,” Manuel said.

He urged business people to become involved in skills training programmes and said they had to leave behind the pre-1994 mindset of a closed economy with minimal competition.

“We have success stories such as the move of motor manufacturers into export markets, but we need more business people to take the leap of faith and develop other niche markets,” Manuel said.

Referring to the mobile phone industry in South Africa, which started officially on April 1 1994 and now had 14-million subscribers with many world-first innovations such as the short message system to its credit, Manuel said this took place with minimal government intervention apart from setting up a regulatory environment.

“Not a very charming thought to us government officials that so much happens without us,” Manuel said.

One of things that government had done was to encourage competition and open

up the economy.

“Lack of competition dulls the senses and that is why we signed the Marrakech agreement and eliminated single channel marketing. That is why we no longer have a Milk Board, a Chicory Board and an Egg Board. We also made sure that we have macro-economic stability by meeting the fiscal criteria of the Maastricht Treaty and introduced inflation targeting. What we set out to do in government is to eliminate the obstacles to entrepreneurship and then let business people create jobs and wealth for us all. These leaders must be bold enough to take the leap of faith, yet capable of taking the micro decisions that affect us all,” Manuel said. – I-Net Bridge

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


ANC wants pension funds to finance infrastructure build

The party released its plan for the reconstruction of the country’s post-coronavirus economy on Friday. This would involve changes to Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act

Ebrahim Patel MIA as the South African National Accreditation System...

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has failed to intervene at the South African National Accreditation System since being made aware of alleged board inteference last November

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss arrested for corruption

Ibrahim Magu’s arrest by the secret police was a surprise — but also not surprising

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday