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Black South Africans need skills to be able to work land - Lindiwe Zulu

Zulu says as a department they are not able to support SMMEs on their own and encourage other departments to help.

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu speaks at the Progressive Business Forum at the Nasrec in Johannesburg on 18 December, 2017. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says she's had to strengthen her department before being able to service Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs)’s properly.

Zulu addressed the Progressive Business Forum breakfast.

She says her department is now fully fledged but there were some challenges.

Zulu says as a department they are not able to support SMMEs on their own and encourage other departments to help.

She says that development in the townships and agricultural sector remain major challenges.

The minister acknowledged that the land issue is a "thorny" topic.

“Those people who are big farmers today, our people have to catch up. They have to catch up with farmers who have been operating for the past 50-100 years. They have to catch up with generations of farming.

“It’s still the same old white males who are actually in charge of the agricultural sector. We’re not having a quarrel with them. [I think it is] safe to say that black South Africans, in particular need the land, they need to be assisted with the skills.”

The minister says that anyone who understands the plight of black people will not see it as painful.

Zulu says small businesses still face a number of challenges.

She says small businesses are overshadowed by big ones because they can’t offer discounts to secure clients and this creates problems in an already saturated market.

At the same time Zulu says her department is working on a Small Business Act and a fund to support SMME’s from next year.

Zulu says government also needs to start using small businesses on a larger scale.

Zulu says along with other departments they should be a team and driving force to address economic problems the country is facing.