R23bn over 5 years to support black industrialists: Ebrahim Patel

13 May 2015 - 11:38 By Jan-Jan Joubert

The Competition Commission is to investigate ways to open up the retail sector to black business‚ Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel announced. The investigation will include a study of the way in which retail space in shopping malls is allocated.Government is also setting aside R23-billion over the next five years to support new black industrialists‚ Patel said.Delivering his budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday‚ Patel said the money would be paid to new businesses in economically productive sectors which were owned and controlled by black people.The new grants can be applied for on the website of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).Additional grants of R9-billion over the next five years are available for budding women and youth industrialists‚ said Patel.The minister added that former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo's investigation into the health care industry has progressed to the point where public hearings will soon be able to take place.According to Patel‚ government is becoming loath to announce tariff hikes to protect local manufacturers from international competition."Tariffs will‚ in future‚ only be raised if the relevant industry heightens productivity‚" Patel announced.He said government was making progress with industrialisation. For instance‚ five years ago no minibus taxis were built locally. Last year‚ 32,000 minibuses were assembled here.The presidential infrastructure co-ordination commission oversaw the creation of 220,000 employment opportunities‚ adding to the country's growth rate.But‚ according to the opposition‚ the picture Patel paints is just a bit too rosy.Democratic Alliance MP Kobus Marais said the state will not be able to constantly increase its public sector wage bill beyond the current R400 billion."This begs the question – where will the jobs for the over 7.3 million unemployed South Africans come from?" Marais asked."Minister Patel might be impressed with the job opportunities created mainly in the public service sector‚ but these must be compared with those lost‚ as well as youth unemployment."Today 1.4 million more South Africans are unemployed since Jacob Zuma became president in 2009‚" said Marais.– RDM News Wire, Parliament Bureau

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