Somalian businesses a great example for South Africans – Lindiwe Zulu

2014-05-27 12:00

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Lindiwe Zulu, the new minister of small business development, says South Africans can learn a lot from Somalians about setting up a successful business.

Zulu has been tasked with the daunting job of helping establish successful small businesses.

“We must see where the challenges are. The sector is not new and a lot of work has been done on it. We have identified that challenges plaguing small businesses include skills development, access to finance and the actual capacity to run a business,” said Zulu.

Zulu was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria yesterday.

Zulu said she will be working very closely with the department of trade and industry and that she will pay special attention to how the rest of the continent runs family owned businesses.

“We will look at how the African continent thrives at small businesses and making them work. Many of them don’t have the regulatory environment, but they thrive,” she said.

In addition, she said Somalians were a great example because they are able to come to South Africa with nothing, build a network and open small businesses that are successful in the same townships South Africans have failed.

“They are committed and focused and know that it doesn’t just take one day to have a thriving business, it takes a lot of hard work,” said Zulu.

She also acknowledged the fact that government red tape and the inability of some government departments to pay small businesses on time also contributes to the high failure rate and said her department will work towards ironing out those issues.

Meanwhile, new minister of arts and culture, Nathi Mthethwa – who has replaced Paul Mashatile and whose move from the police department has some suggesting he’s been demoted – said he didn’t consider his new post as a downgrade. Mthethwa said ministers were always deployed where they were needed.

“We will focus on social cohesion, heritage and support community initiated programmes,” he said.

Jeff Radebe, the new minister in the presidency, said his mandate was to ensure the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and that there was cohesion between government departments and business.

“It [the NDP] is a national plan that must be embraced by all society. It will ensure economic growth, which will lead to higher employment. I am looking forward to the challenge. Our responsibility is to ensure an effective plan and embrace it,” said Radebe.

City Press also spoke to the new minister of finance, Nhlanhla Nene, who said even though he has big shoes to fill, he doesn’t find the new position overwhelming.

“We have a five-year plan that we have been working on and we are three years into that plan,” he said.

The swearing-in ceremony had many light moments amid mispronunciations of ministers’ names and the word “conscientious”, and some even explained that English was not their mother tongue.

When Zuma read out the names of the ministers and deputy ministers, the crowd laughed at some middle names. The new home affairs minister, Knowledge Malusi Gigaba received the most laughs and Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula set Twitter ablaze with most of his followers making jokes about his middle name, April.

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