Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Nomalungelo Gina has urged local communities and business owners to reflect on how attacks on small businesses owned by foreign nationals will retard efforts to grow the South African economy.
Addressing delegates at the annual Small, Medium and Micro-Sized Enterprises Seminar in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, Gina said a scramble for scarce resources is at the heart of the recent incidents of violence.
She warned it was important to note that the violence would curtail trade and economic opportunities for South Africa with the continent and the world.
“We depend on exports and imports with other countries to grow our economy. We will not succeed if we fight people from the rest of the continent. Violence has a knock-on effect on brand South Africa and will limit our economic opportunities in the long run.”
As a nation grappling with high levels of unemployment, she said, the SMME sector growth is a critical vehicle to job creation.
Gina urged local operators to explore investment opportunities that come with the presence of the Richard’s Bay Industrial Development Zone.
She reiterated government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for the growth of the SMME sector.
“Many countries in Europe have succeeded in creating and maintaining jobs, growing their economies and social stability through nurturing SMMEs. It can only be through synergies within small businesses and subcontracting opportunities with big corporates that growth can be achieved,” the deputy trade minister pointed out.