Malusi Gigaba the Home Affairs Deputy Minister, brief media on successes in stoping undesirable people coming into South Africa during World Cup. 150610 Picture: Sarah Makoe

Pretoria - Several government programmes have shielded South Africans in general from the harsh effects of poverty, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday.

“Vulnerable South Africans like children and the elderly enjoy social protection in the form of free access to health care and other basic services and social grants,” he said at the launch of the multi-million-rand Godisa supplier development fund in Pretoria.

“Through the decisive action of the past 20 years, particularly through the social wage, we have prevented millions of South Africans from sinking deep into abject poverty. We are, however, aware that social grants on their own do not generate sustainable incomes and cannot be a basis to grow our economy.”

The R165 million fund is intended to empower Transnet's black-owned suppliers.

The initiative is a collaboration between Anglo-American's enterprise development arm Zimele, Transnet, and the Small Enterprises Finance Agency.

Gigaba urged state-owned and private-sector enterprises to invest further towards empowering black and young entrepreneurs.

“I think it (the Godisa fund) is a historic initiative and marks the start of higher levels of collaboration between key stakeholders in the South African economic sector to achieve our industrialisation and transformation objectives.

“I further challenge the private sector to implement more of these initiatives so that we can expand opportunities for black, young and female entrepreneurs to be able to pursue their objectives in the field of small business development,” said Gigaba.

Godisa is a Setswana word which means “to nurture or to grow”.

The project will offer loans and capital advances for the development of Transnet's black-owned suppliers in the manufacturing and services sector.

Over a 10-year period, R150m will be used for investment financing and the remaining R15m will be used to provide support services. - Sapa