20 March 2014
More work needs to be done to grow small businesses in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said at the second annual South African Premier Business Awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.
The awards, which acknowledge excellence across all sectors of South African business, are organised by the Department of Trade and Industry in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African.
Zuma told delegates at the glittering ceremony that, in its next five-year term, the government would place greater focus on small businesses, “as these are the engines of job creation. Informal traders and entrepreneurs must be able to develop their small businesses into larger businesses through support mechanisms and an enabling environment.”
He said that, through its discussions with business, the government had been sensitised to the need to improve the ease of doing business in the country, and the relevant departments had been instructed to work to create a more business-friendly environment.
Zuma also emphasised the need for business and labour to promote workplace stability in the country. “We are pleased that labour relations appear to be conducted in a more stable manner compared to the turbulence of the year 2012, during which we experienced a tragic loss of life and violence in areas such as Marikana,” he said.
The awards saw companies ranging from electricity parastatal Eskom to small businesses competing in 13 categories. Among the winners of the night were the Clover Mama Afrika Trust, which won the Rural Development Award, and SAAB Grintek Defence, which took home the Exporter Award.
Sam Motsuenyane, former president of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) and founding chairman of the African Bank, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in the development of black business in the country.
“I want to thank government for the positive economic black business policy that they brought into existence after taking over power,” the 87-year-old Motsuenyane said on receiving his award.
“A lot of positive things have been done and achieved, but I must tell the President tonight that we still have a long way to go. We need to create as fast as we can a society of black entrepreneurs to participate in nation building.”
The inaugural winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, business mogul Richard Maponya, Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu and Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng were among those who attended the awards ceremony.