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Rural Economy Must be Protected and Stimulated – Deputy Minister Magwanishe

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mr Bulelani Magwanishe says the rural economy must be protected and stimulated in order to contribute meaningfully in building a prosperous South Africa that all can benefit from through job creation, economic development and poverty eradication. Magwanishe was delivering a keynote speech at the two-day Vhembe SMME Summit that started in Thohoyandou, Limpopo today. The summit is organised by the Department of Trade Industry (the dti), in partnership with the Department of Small Business Development and the Vhembe District Municipality.

“The National Development Plan projects that 90% of the new jobs will be from the Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME) sector by 2030. It is for this reason that national and provincial governments are strengthening efforts to reignite the economic value of the SMME sector. The summit is part of government’s response to pressing matters affecting our SMME sector. Rural economic activities must be protected and stimulated in order to enable SMMEs and cooperatives based in these areas to create the much-needed jobs and contribute in the country’s economic growth and the development of communities and in building a prosperous South Africa,” added Magwanishe.

He added that through rigorous investment and support, he believed that South Africa would create a future where it is not multinationals that lead the change in the economy, but the SMMEs that provide the number of jobs required to advance the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“The Vhembe district has been identified as an agricultural hub in the country. Being a diversified sector, agriculture delivers more jobs per rand invested than any other industry.  It is advisable to leverage on the NDP estimates, which project that the sector could potentially create one million jobs by 2030. In revitalising the agro-processing sector, the dti has established the Agro-processing Support Scheme which promotes the participation of downstream industries, encourages the value-chain approach and aims to stimulate investment in agro-beneficiation,” said Magwanishe.

Magwanishe also said that as it shares borders with Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique, the Vhembe district serves as a lucrative corridor for regional and continental movements of goods.

“This platform should be utilised to better promote the district as a viable trade and investment destination to local and global patrons. Agro-processing, services sector, freight industry and the manufacturing sector must receive specific focus,” said Magwanishe.

The Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Mr Cassel Mathale said according to the Bureau of Economic Research of the University of Stellenbosch’s study commissioned by his department’s Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) on the SMME sector for the first quarter of 2018, the informal sector constituted 70% of all SMMEs in the country.

“This study has compelled our department to refocus and reprioritise businesses in rural and township areas to further focus on businesses that are very small but also those trading informally. We have since upscaled our support through the Informal Micro Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP) administered by Seda, amongst others,” said Mathale.

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe speaking at the Vhembe SMME Summit in Thohoyandou, Limpopo

Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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