'There is going to be a new way of doing things': Mboweni on business after lockdown
Finance minister Tito Mboweni said on Friday that businesses hoping to open and thrive post the coronavirus lockdown should consider amending their labour market policies to favour unemployed South Africans.
Spelling out how government's R500bn relief fund aimed at helping vulnerable South Africans, businesses and the economy would be used, he said things had changed over the last two decades and the country's unemployed workers were being left behind.
When he returned to SA from exile in 1990, he explained, eight out of 10 workers at restaurants were South African.
“The other two were probably Malawian or Zimbabwean. Today almost 100% are non-South African,” he said.
“The new economy that we are getting into after the lifting of the lockdown must answer that question. Any establishment wanting to reopen must have a new labour market policy which prioritises South Africans but does not discriminate against [foreign nationals],” Mboweni said.
“The proportion of South Africans working in a restaurant must be greater than that of non-South Africans,” he said.
Mboweni said he was confident that the government would support his call.
“The government, I am quite certain about this, will have to put in place labour market policies which are supportive of the increased employment of SA youth without discriminating against non-South Africans,” he said.
Mboweni also called for small businesses to start thinking ahead of how they could alter their businesses post lockdown — similarly in the agricultural sector.
“People who want to approach banks or government for funding and so on must demonstrate that they do have a labour market or employment policy that favours South Africans,” Mboweni said.
“Nothing is xenophobic about that,” he said.
Spaza shop owners should also upgrade their businesses, he added.
“Every spaza shop must be registered with a licence to operate and more importantly for me, must have a bank account and a tax number,” Mboweni said.
He said these shop owners must be willing to open their doors for inspection by the department of health.
“So there is going to be a new way of doing things and I think we stand ready to play our part as the ministry of finance,” Mboweni said.