I refer to the article “Follow that man, he’s a positive influencer” (Business Report, September 26). As the article states, Gareth Cliff is not scared to state things as to how they should be and he has a wonderful gift of being able to see through all the rhetoric and “smoke and mirrors” policies and actions of our politicians and leaders in various fields. He thoroughly deserves all the compliments given to him.
If we were honest with ourselves, he should immediately be made president, his talents and no-nonsense approach would put the country back on track and South Africa could become one of the most powerful economic nations of the world.
NEF should rather lend to local manufacturers
As a local manufacturer of finished goods, I have much pondered the various comments and commentary of erudite individuals on the saga of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) giving R34 million to Khanyi Dhlomo.
Most of the comments are made in relation to the importance of stimulating job growth through stimulating manufacturing. In turn, industrialisation and its partner, manufacturing, can only be boosted if funding is made available to entrepreneurs.
In business, perspective is always important. Allow me to share my perspective as an entrepreneur.
I am a woman who started a manufacturing business just over a year ago. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is the only organisation that was willing and able to provide funding for my business. The funding amount, while confidential, is under R5m.
The IDC’s funding enabled me to win and to fill purchase orders from major retail stores. By manufacturing and assembling products for these orders, we have employed an additional eight black women, who fall into the youth age category and had never been permanently employed.
Ntuthuko Shezi states in his open response to the trade and industry minister’s directive that government funding may not be used to import finished goods and services as “taking a knobkierie to black business” (Business Report, September 16). While Shezi’s letter is thought-provoking and posits a good argument, it is without merit.
Occasionally, the government does actually manage to get some of its economic policies right. The only way to industrialise South Africa and boost manufacturing is to ensure that more manufacturing businesses are started and grown and supported.
The government has passed a number of laws aimed at helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The government provides funding for SMEs to purchase equipment. This funding is cheap and well structured. We have tax incentives to employ youth. We have import duties to protect locally manufactured products.
How does funding yet another retail store selling yet more imported finished goods (mostly from China) stimulate local manufacturing? The last thing the consumer needs is yet more imported goods from yet more retail stores. What does the race or the gender of the retail store owner have to do with anything?
A retail store buys finished goods and on-sells the same at a premium. How is working as a temporary store clerk in a retail store any form of job and career development?
The fact is that the NEF dealt a severe blow to stimulating entrepreneurial spirit among young black people. The NEF gave funds to the “haves” and by-passed the “have-nots”.
Two rich, well-educated women opened a retail store where other rich women want to shop. Shezi encourage us to support these two rich women by going to the Hyde Park store and buying something. Even as a person who owns the means of production, I can’t afford to buy a dress at R5 000.
In addition, I am embarrassed to sit in the store’s opulence and sip on an espresso knowing that my employees would be horrified at such excess.
The R34m loaned to Dhlomo and her business partner, Judy Dhlamini, the wife of multi-millionaire Sizwe Nxasana, would have bought me a new factory, with five new high-speed manufacturing machines, enabled me to permanently employ 200 black youth, and ensured I can supply retail stores with locally manufactured finished goods.
The fact is, retail stores have very little loyalty to South African-manufactured goods. The country’s manufacturers can supply finished goods at competitive prices and of good quality. Retail stores appear to prefer to buy finished goods from China, Asia and Europe.
Buying and importing finished goods from other countries stimulates those countries’ manufacturing sectors. Back here, companies close down, jobs are lost and the consumer can buy less goods from retail stores.
The Honourable Rob Davies is to be supported in his efforts to stimulate manufacturing as one of the means of creating jobs. The NEF funding a luxury retail store for 0.01 percent of the population is taking a knobkierie to local manufacturers of finished goods.
Managing Director, Candela Luminescence
Show us where cheap, dumped imports are
We refer to Business Watch, September 27, under the sub heading “Poultry industry”, readers are informed of “cheap” and “dumping of” poultry imports.
We have heard this propaganda ad nauseam but we did not expect Business Report to publish it as factual. We know of no cheap, dumped poultry imports.
We only know of poultry imports which are both superior in quality to the highly brined, botoxed local product and which are also more expensive than local equivalents.
Could we request the author of the piece in question to direct us to the location of these cheap, dumped products?
With regard to the same reporter’s comments about the positive effects of steeper import duties on jobs, we would expect him or her to be totally economically literate and understand the implications of increased duties on both prices at the tills as well as the negative economic effects of protectionism on the wider economy.
After all, he or she is writing for a respected business publication!
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of SA