The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies says corruption undermines the industrial policy capabilities. Minister Davies was speaking during an interactive business breakfast dialogue on the Rural and Township Industrial Economy that was hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry together with the Department of Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, eThekwini municipality and Ithala Development Finance Corporation.
“If we have corruption in the awarding of government money to support the programmes, it means somebody who is getting it is not supposed to get it and means the programme itself is weakened. Further if entrepreneurs fail to abide by the law, those that don’t abide by the law unfairly out-compete those that do and this includes collusion; in fact, collusion is the polite name for corruption,” said Davies.
Minister Davies said over the years, they have seen a number of dodgy tenders many of them which did not support locally produced products but supported imports. These tenders he said were some of the actions that undermine the country’s industrial policy capabilities. He added that these actions weaken one of the most important policy tools of localisation.
“It is important that we don’t allow corruption to take place, a capable state means we want officials who know and implement the policies for the good of the country. the dti has a zero tolerance to corruption, we allow the full might of the law to deal with those who engage in corrupt acts,” said Minister Davies.
While sharing views on the importance of township and rural economy, Minister Davies highlighted the importance of the Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme which was initiated in 2016 with a focus on revitalizing Industrial Parks. Many of these are in the Townships and Rural areas and serve as a key intervention for industrialising the Rural and Township economy. In the KwaZulu-Natal, Minister Davies said the dti supported the Isithebe Industrial Park which is located at Sundumbili township. The park was approved for R49 million and employs 25 000 people.
Delegates at the dialogue raised various issues paramount to these were the lack of access to finance and the lack of access to markets for players that are involved in the repairs of vehicles. In response to this, Minister called on the private sector and government to come together to address these challenge, specifically he called on the insurance companies to come to the party and give access to market to these entrepreneurs.
The Member of the Executive Council for Human Settlements and Public Works Mr Ravigasen Ranganathan Pillay who delivered his address on behalf of the Member of the Executive Council for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Sihle Zikalala echoed Minister Davies’s sentiments anticorruption state.
He said while implementing the radical economic transformation, all parties needed to buy into the idea of anticorruption, this way, he said the benefits of the programmes will be visible. Pillay mentioned the establishment of manufacturing hubs for a variety of products consumed by township residents and for exports would have considerable impact on the township residents and conversion of these residential areas into centres of tangible socio-economic transformation.
Councillor Nkosenhle Madlala descried the Automotive sector as a key sector in KZN, he said the sector contributes 1.3% to the province’s gross geographic product. He mentioned said that more can be achieved through partnerships. He added that there was a need to skill and formalise the mechanics and panel beaters who are based in rural and townships.
The business dialogue was aimed at creating a platform for collaboration between the public and private sectors in developing support mechanisms for rural and township economies. The breakfast dialogue and the seminar are part of the build-up to the presidential Summit on the Rural and Township Economies that will be hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council in the Eastern Cape in July.
The dialogue was held under the theme Automotive Sector-Facilitating economic opportunities for SMMEs and community.
The dialogue, and the seminar were part of the build-up to the presidential Summit on the Rural and Township Economies that will be hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council in the Eastern Cape in July 2018.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.