31 July 2013
South Africa’s Black Business Council has thrown its weight behind the country’s long-term socio-economic development roadmap, the National Development Plan (NDP).
A policy blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030, the NDP identifies the key constraints to faster growth and presents a roadmap to a more inclusive economy that will address the country’s socio-economic imbalances.
In a televised interview with the SABC on Tuesday, Black Business Council general secretary Sandile Zungu said the NDP gave South Africa, for the first time since the Freedom Charter, a guiding vision that could unite the country.
Zungu told the SABC that the document was still “picture imperfect”, with various sectors have expressed “this or that concern” with it.
However, the council, “as a collective of black business, is saying, ‘Let’s support this, let us make sure this economy grows at a sustainable level of six percent and more to create jobs and to enhance the competitiveness of our country for the prosperity of all.'”
Zungu was speaking ahead of a conference, hosted by the Black Business Council in Johannesburg on Tuesday, on the role of black business in implementing the NDP.
He said the organisation had identified a number of barriers to the entry of black businesses into the mainstream of the economy, including difficulties with access to capital, mentoring and training, and supply chains.
These could be addressed, Zungu said, by the government acting as a partner to business through its development finance institutions.
At the same time, the council urged big business to make small businesses part of their supply chains.
It was also crucial that black businesses play a sizeable role in implementing the government’s infrastructure drive, Zungu said, noting that the Department of Public Enterprises was involved in Tuesday’s conference, where a number of ministers would be in attendance and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel would be speaking.
The NDP was approved by Cabinet late last year and adopted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at its elective conference in Mangaung in December.
President Jacob Zuma, in his reply to the debate on the Presidency’s budget vote in Parliament in June, reiterated the government’s support for the NDP as South Africa’s “long-term socio-economic development roadmap”, saying the plan “ensures certainty with regards to the direction of the country in the next 20 years”.