POVERTY WEALTH

CityPress - - Business -

The head­line “You can’t cre­ate in­dus­tri­al­ists like magic” (City Press, Septem­ber 28) was a shocker, ac­cord­ing to No­mali, my per­sonal as­sis­tant, and I must say it took me by sur­prise as well. “Hey XQ, did you see the shock­ing ar­ti­cle ka Her­man Mashaba in the City Press yes­ter­day? Buti ngikuphathele i-copy in case you didn’t see it be­cause ngiyazi wena uh­lala u-busy, how can he talk like that as if ukhu­lumela abelun­gungu tjo! I am shocked!” she said.

Yes, I had read the opin­ion piece and I must say it bor­dered on mis­in­for­ma­tion. As our pub­lic in­flu­ence gains promi­nence, we should be us­ing words care­fully and ap­ply­ing phrases wisely, lest we dam­age young minds.

My brother, your as­ser­tion that “if gov­ern­ment wants to make sure all in­dus­tri­al­ists are black, it will mean in­tro­duc­ing mea­sures to pre­vent peo­ple of other races from suc­ceed­ing”, im­plic­itly says gov­ern­ment will in­tro­duce re­verse dis­crim­i­na­tion. You can’t be se­ri­ous.

In fact, your as­ser­tion is a fair de­scrip­tion of the racist poli­cies of the de­funct Na­tional Party, which le­git­imised “mea­sures to pre­vent black peo­ple from suc­ceed­ing”, to bor­row a part of your phrase.

In this coun­try, the colour of poverty is black and the colour of wealth is over­whelm­ingly white.

Only a hand­ful of blacks are wealthy; so the de­lib­er­ate agenda to cre­ate black in­dus­tri­al­ists is crit­i­cal. We would have hoped you would join us and share your ex­pe­ri­ences.

Gov­ern­ment’s func­tion is not to cre­ate jobs. Yes, it must cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to eco­nomic growth through ap­pro­pri­ate poli­cies. The pri­vate sec­tor should be play­ing a lead­ing role in sup­port­ing the cre­ation of new en­ter­prises and pro­vid­ing them with greater mar­ket ac­cess, as well as con­tribut­ing to­wards bridg­ing their ca­pa­bil­ity gap.

The Black Business Coun­cil (BBC) strives to place sig­nif­i­cant eq­uity of the econ­omy into the hands of the majority of our peo­ple.

The pri­vate sec­tor con­tin­ues to shed jobs in the name of im­prov­ing ef­fi­cien­cies and build­ing share­holder value. The fo­cus on build­ing in­dus­tri­al­ists is de­pen­dent on fos­ter­ing sym­bi­otic re­la­tions be­tween large com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing sta­te­owned com­pa­nies, and SMMEs.

As a coun­try, we need to ad­dress fac­tors con­tribut­ing to­wards in­hibitive costs for start-ups, in­clud­ing labour costs, and we can no longer shy away from this con­ver­sa­tion. As sen­si­tive as it is, the army of un­em­ployed de­mands of us to con­front it.

The cre­ation of the small business de­vel­op­ment depart­ment pro­vides a golden op­por­tu­nity to build a ro­bust and sus­tain­able pol­icy en­vi­ron­ment that places SMMEs at the epi­cen­tre of eco­nomic growth through a bold SMME pol­icy master plan.

Your state­ment that “politi­cians some­times seem to think there is some kind of magic they can em­ploy to make things hap­pen, like the cre­ation of 1 000 in­dus­tri­al­ists in the same way a ma­gi­cian pulls a rab­bit out of a hat, but in­dus­tri­al­ists are not rab­bits and politi­cians are not ma­gi­cians” is a mock­ery, de­void of ide­ol­ogy, and can­not be taken se­ri­ously.

We agree with you that we need to dras­ti­cally re­duce un­em­ploy­ment, and that self-em­ploy­ment is the an­swer.

I like us­ing the ex­am­ple of Afrikaner eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment.

Poverty and il­lit­er­acy among Afrikan­ers did not re­solve it­self. It took the Na­tional Party’s po­lit­i­cal

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