Small busi­nesses can help coun­try grow

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - LETTERS -

They lessen the im­pact of the short­age of jobs, writes Mo­hamed Saeed from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg.

The in­for­mal sec­tor en­ter­prises are a use­ful and self-mo­ti­vated sec­tor which can con­trib­ute or help to lessen the im­pact of the se­vere short­age of new job op­por­tu­ni­ties in SA.

Em­pow­ered, well-sup­ported and dy­namic small busi­nesses can be a pow­er­ful mech­a­nism for cre­at­ing more wide-rang­ing growth, re­dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth and na­tion-build­ing.

I re­call how my fa­ther, in the early ’70s opened a small shop in a farm town with lit­tle cash.

To­gether with my mother, they both put in long hours of hard phys­i­cal labour, sell­ing al­most any­thing they could lay their hands on, and built them­selves up from there. My fa­ther used to tell us “save the pen­nies and buy a farm”.

Apartheid’s re­pres­sive laws were about more than just sep­a­rate ameni­ties.

We were very blink­ered and due to the lack of recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties, my fa­ther, in or­der to keep me away from mis­chief and off the streets, made me work in the shop dur­ing the week­ends, pack­ing the shelves or the fridge, op­er­at­ing the till. Or he sent me to the bus rank to sell small items to com­muters.

Sim­i­larly, many chil­dren and grand­chil­dren will be able to tell par­al­lel sto­ries of how, from dif­fi­cult and hum­ble be­gin­nings, they climbed the lad­der.

It was through th­ese small en­ter­prises that par­ents sent their kids to school, univer­sity, and bought ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties such as clothes, food, elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, and even homes.

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