President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday highlighted the importance of assisting entrepreneurs and cited the various successes of Shanduka Black Umbrellas, which is now simply called Black Umbrellas.
In a speech in which he mentioned Black Umbrellas several times, Ramaphosa said the foundation had helped a number of businesses to flourish.
He added that government would work on improving the department of small business development’s incubation programme to further assist entrepreneurs.
Addressing a packed municipal hall in Centurion, Ramaphosa also said the country could not do without foreign direct investment.
Ramaphosa also dismissed a suggestion from the audience that foreign companies should be banned from mining in the country.
“Sometimes foreign companies have an appetite for risk and the financial muscle. We have an open economy and, at the same time, we must make sure we have enough space for local businesses to play,” he said.
Ramaphosa said that, after the success of last year’s investment conference, there were plans to host another one this year.
Ramaphosa was joined at the event by Gauteng ANC chairperson David Makhura and Tshwane ANC chairperson Kgosi Maepa.
He said the party had created 8.5 million jobs since it came into power in 1994 and had doubled South Africa’s gross domestic product.
Responding to a question about whether he would bow to the powers of Western countries and end up serving their interests, Ramaphosa said his government would not be a puppet.
“We are not going to be a puppet of the West. We are a proud nation and can never subject ourselves to that after going through what we went through. We are never going to do that,” he said, adding that there was a need to Africanise and decolonise not only education, but even the way business was conducted.
“We are trying to do everything we can to not fall into the hands of the International Monetary Fund,” he said, adding that the country’s purse was also under extreme pressure.