Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday urged black business people to create their own opportunities rather than wait for government.

“Black business cannot be content merely to await the opportunities that government will create,” he said at the Black Business Council in Gallagher Estate, Midrand.

He said black business should develop its agenda for transforming the way business was conducted in the country.

“Black business must lead, develop strategies and work with government and the rest of the business communities.”

They should take the lead in producing thousands of professionals and mentor them afterwards.

“The businesses must look at how emerging entrepreneurs can be financed, supported and provided with market access.”

Ramaphosa told about 500 attendees that South Africa was looking at them to take the country forward.

Business people would need financial support to fund their existing and new businesses.

Ramaphosa said government's developmental finance institutions would provide increased access to affordable lending that supported diversification of the economy.

“We can no longer ignore poor lending practices, expensive charges, lack of more inclusive and accessible financing.”

Government was prepared to do its part by fostering an environment for growth and investment.

“The support of government is there. Black business will have themselves to blame if they don't take up the opportunities.”

Pupils should be taught about business from an early age so in the future they could take the country forward.

“The poor quality of education to many black students has limited their employment opportunities.”

Ramaphosa said black business should work with government to bridge the gap between institutions and the world of work.

“The council has a role to play in identifying where needs exist and develop proposals on how to address them.” - Sapa