Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, at the launch of the ninth iteration of IPAP in Sandton on Monday (Pic supplied: the dti)
Cape Town - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies on Tuesday took exception to public scrutiny around who the beneficiaries of the multi billion black industrialist programme were after he announced that 46 of these projects had received more than R2 billion in funding so far.

Davies said it was peculiar that there was such preoccupation with the number of black South Africans who have benefited from the programme, despite the department being involved in funding 6000 other projects across sectors.

“Your phraseology is indicating that these black industrialist are getting ‘pocket money’ - and that means you’re representing white prejudice about a programme that is targeted at black people,” Davies.

He was responding to a question posed by a journalist who said that, because tax payers’ money was involved, there should be transparency in the programme.

Davies’ views were echoed by the department’s director-general, Lionel October, who also took exception on the insistence that the list be released of the beneficiaries of the black industrialist programme.

“There is an assumption that because this incentive is focused on black entrepreneurs - that these people are not really entrepreneurs and there is corruption taking place for the first time there has been a special interest in the black industrialist programme,” October said.

Davies and October said the names of the receipts of the black industrialist incentives would only be released when the recipients gave permission for such a release.

On November 4, 2015, cabinet approved the Black Industrialist Policy.

Read also: DTI unveils Black Industrialists Policy

The department said the Independent Development Corporation, Public Investment Corporation and the National Empowerment Fund had also deployed more than R2 billion in financial support that allowed recipients to undertake projects worth R3.7 bilion.

Davies said the department projected that the programme would create 800 direct jobs and 12 000 indirect jobs.

According to an African Economic Outlook report, released by the African Development Bank on Monday, there was a close relation between entrepreneurship and industrialisation.

The report said in 18 African countries that provided statistics, 11 percent of the working-age population set up their own firms to tap specific business opportunities.

It said few of them invested in high-growth sectors, charging that African governments could improve skills of entrepreneurs to enhance the efficiency of business clusters.