Sunday Times - - Business Opinion & Bits -

KwaZulu and IFP sup­ported black busi­nesses when no one else did

Writ­ing in “Black busi­ness bears brunt of the ex­cesses of ru­inous Zuma era” (April 29) about the cor­rupt na­ture of the for­mer pres­i­dent’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, ed­i­tor Ron Derby made a bizarre allegation about the for­mer KwaZulu gov­ern­ment. It war­rants a re­sponse for it is wholly defam­a­tory.

Derby al­leged that in KwaZulu, black-owned busi­nesses with­out IFP mem­ber­ship suf­fered “ha­rass­ment” while “an IFP card was a pass to do­ing busi­ness”. From his age, he is ev­i­dently not speak­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence, and he is cer­tainly not speak­ing from his­tor­i­cal fact. So on what ba­sis does he pen this defam­a­tory non­sense?

The KwaZulu gov­ern­ment sup­ported black busi­ness re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion. Those who did busi­ness in KwaZulu re­call our ef­forts to strengthen their hand. With the lim­ited funds we had we cre­ated the KwaZulu In­vest­ment and Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion, which pro­duced black en­trepreneurs in a cli­mate wholly an­ti­thet­i­cal to eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of any kind.

At that time no com­mer­cial bank would give loans to black peo­ple be­cause they could pro­vide no col­lat­eral, hav­ing no prop­erty. Thus black en­trepreneurs strug­gled to get that first bit of money that would al­low them to start their busi­ness, plant their land or ini­ti­ate a devel­op­ment pro­ject. In re­sponse, I es­tab­lished Ithala Bank, which pro­vided seed cap­i­tal to black busi­nesses and black en­trepreneurs.

This had noth­ing to do with party pol­i­tics. It was about em­pow­er­ing all our dis­en­fran­chised peo­ple. Ac­cord­ingly, I had a good re­la­tion­ship with the Na­tional African Fed­er­ated Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try. My stand on eco­nomic sanc­tions was also wel­comed by busi­ness.

Frankly, I am sick of the con­stant ef­forts to make KwaZulu and Inkatha swear words. You can’t just say things with no ev­i­dence to back them up, par­tic­u­larly if you want to be re­spected as an hon­est jour­nal­ist.

Prince Man­go­suthu Buthelezi MP, for­mer chief min­is­ter of the KwaZulu gov­ern­ment and pres­i­dent of the Inkatha Free­dom Party

Lit­tle sym­pa­thy for ‘in­ven­tor‘

I have sym­pa­thy for Nkosana Makate, but he is not the in­ven­tor, “A pit­tance for Call Me in­ven­tor?” (April 29).

An in­ven­tor has to come up with an in­ven­tion, not just a sug­ges­tion. Mr Makate came up with an idea. The code writ­ers in­vented it.

Leonardo da Vinci came up with the idea of a he­li­copter hun­dreds of years ear­lier. So should he be con­sid­ered the in­ven­tor? The ma­te­ri­als to make a he­li­copter were not around in his time. Sim­i­larly, the soft­ware to make Mr Makate’s idea work was not around at the time. The Con­sti­tu­tional Court’s de­ci­sions should stick to the con­sti­tu­tion.

Tom Mor­gan, by e-mail

Re­gard­less of my con­tempt for Vo­da­com, I don’t feel sorry for this guy. In fact, I feel he should not get a cent. Since when does a com­pany have to com­pen­sate an em­ployee for their ideas? Em­ploy­ees ben­e­fit from in­no­va­tion through per­for­mance bonuses, pro­mo­tion mech­a­nisms and hav­ing a paid job.

Com­pa­nies ex­ist only be­cause they grow, feed and ex­pand on the ideas of em­ploy­ees who are paid for their ser­vices. Take this away, and they won’t ex­ist.

Ricky Naidu, on Busi­nesslive

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