Cape Town – The Nine-Point Plan has laid the foundation for government to accelerate radical socio-economic transformation, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti said on Tuesday.
The Minister was chairing the Economic Sectors, Employment and Economic Infrastructure Development Cluster briefing at the Imbizo Centre in Cape Town.
The briefing was aimed at giving a progress report on the cluster’s work in implementing the Nine-Point Plan, and to also detail its plan of action for the year ahead following President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 9 February.
“Since the President announced the plan in his 2015 SONA, we have put in place initiatives to boost economic growth, create much needed jobs and draw more South Africans into the productive sectors of the economy.
“There has been improved policy coordination, infrastructure development and skills development.
“Advances have also been made into the lucrative economic sectors of the oceans economy and tourism, industrialisation and unlocking the potential of small businesses,” Minister Nkwinti said.
Ensuring growth in the agricultural sector
The Minister said the Nine-Point Plan has committed the cluster to transform the agricultural sector through the roll-out of Agri-parks in 44 districts, fast-track the implementation of the Strengthening Relative Rights of People Working the Land (50/50) policy at 10 pilot sites and create jobs through the production of key commodities.
He said many of the initiatives planned in 2015 are at advanced stages of implementation.
The construction of 11 Agri-hubs and 12 Farmer Production Support units being underway. The Ncora, Springbokpan and Westonaria Agri-hubs are now operational.
Of the 66 proposals received under the 50/50 policy framework, 13 of them amounting to 90 191 hectares worth R631 million have been finalised.
The One Household, One Hectare Programme approved 154 sites which will benefit 6 000 households;
R1 billion has been invested to recapitalise 611 farms, thus cultivating 526 452 hectares of land that would be lying fallow.
Ninety black commercial farmers will be supported through the Commercialisation Support Programme, which targets 450 black smallholder farmers by 2022.
Unlocking the potential of SMMEs
Minister Nkwinti said, meanwhile, that small businesses have the potential to make a meaningful contribution in empowering people and drawing new entrants into the economy.
“It is a focal area of the Nine-Point Plan, which targets removing regulatory constraints, assists through 30% of State procurement and the development of a framework to strengthen and regulate the informal business sector,” he said.
Progress has been made in the sector over the past two years in several areas, including:
Amended Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act regulations, which provide for 30% set-asides for SMMEs and cooperatives, are in place.
The Black Business Supplier Development Programme, which assists black businesses with their integration into the value chains and supplier databases of large corporations.
National Gazelle’s programme, which targets 40 high-performing SMMEs with financial and non-financial support to accelerate their growth.
Department of Small Business Development, which has dedicated 50% of its support to township enterprises and 30% to rural enterprises.
Pilot Informal Trader Upliftment Programme, which has benefited 1 000 informal traders and the number is projected exceed 4 000 at the end of the 2016/17 financial year.
Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency, which have co-located their services in 35 sites to allow a single-point access to services.
Partnership between the National Skills Fund and SEDA to the value of R84 million, of which R35.3 million has been paid to date to develop the capacity of small businesses nationwide.
Process of consultation to amend the National Small Business Act, 1996 (Act 102 of 1996) has commenced.