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02 Feb 2018 00:00
Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane called upon all stakeholders in the water sector to find innovative ways to resolve the challenges it is facing
In her opening remarks the minister advised the delegates that, together with 192 other countries, South Africa has committed itself to the achievement of the new globally set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of which is Goal Six, the objective of which is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Key points of the minister’s address
Minister David Mahlobo on the importance of the water-energy nexus development
Minister Lindiwe Zulu: Creating an investment-friendly environment The minister of small business development says the ecosystem of support structures must be improved
Key points: • There is a push in the direction of water infrastructure development and water access for ordinary people who are struggling, to assist with job creation and reduce poverty. The minister expressed concern, as the signing of a transversal agreement has not taken place between the department of small business development and the department of water and sanitation. She advised that it is important that the agreement is finalised as it will act as guidance and as a base to work from. Issues related to opportunities for SMMEs and co-operatives do not need research. Many SMMES have the solutions already, but lack the guidance to go forward, and lack funding. • With regard to SMMES in particular, a report by StatsSA indicated that in 2016 up to 47% of SMME owners hired new employees, therefore addressing part of the mandate of the NDP. An investigation is being conducted to identify which SMMEs actually hired employees. Government has a big purse, but most SMMEs do not have access to these funds, as large infrastructure projects seem to dominate the allotment of the funds. The minister advised that owners of SMMEs need to prepare themselves to play with the bigger players in the sector by forming partnerships. Investors must not lose sight of small businesses. • It is also important to improve the ecosystem of support structures, legislations, regulations, financial and non-financial support in order for there to be a seamless flow of information. There are three spheres of government, and two agencies, Seda (Small Enterprise Development Agency) and Sefa (Small Enterprise Finance Agency) that sit with the department, but these agencies are not sufficiently connected to one another. There is a need to break down these barriers and form synergies where possible to come up with more innovative solutions. • At a local government level, there is a need to strengthen local structures; the leaders don’t have a good understanding of the economics of the area. They need to connect better with the government. • Lack of inter-developmental communication is constraining development, with projects undertaken in isolation. Local government has economic agencies in place, but the right people need to be put into place too.
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