Right: Gladwin Malishe
Durban - The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) said on Wednesday the construction small and micro-enterprises (SMME) sector was very weak.

Chamber first vice-president Gladwin Malishe attributed this to lack of investment.

“We do not have people who are investing in the sector itself, but have people who wait for government to issue tenders, and people who are waiting for private sector corporates to expand,” said Malishe.

He was speaking on the first day of the KwaZulu-Natal Construction Expo at the Durban Exhibition Centre on Wednesday.

Malishe on Monday called for construction SMMEs to come together, see a vision and invest in it themselves, without relying on government and ­corporate projects.

He implored them to form consortiums and build what was needed on their own.

“The chamber believes our economy is in the hands of the SMMEs. The more we develop, the more job creation and the more economic development of the country and the city.”

He said SMMEs mainly based in the construction sector were faced with a lot of red tape, and competed with businesses that had been in the game for a long time.

“The government is trying, with financial development institutions, to provide capital and skills development, while the chamber provides mentorship and mentee programmes where SMMEs get to learn, as we believe they are the key to the success of our economy.”

The chamber said it provided members with skills in handling paperwork, tax issues and cash flow.

“Many do not know how to differentiate between their money and the money of the business. Our mentorship programmes take them while they are still inexperienced, and link them with an established company for skills transfer. We also have programmes that assist with business linkages, discussions with big corporates to share outsourcing and other existing opportunities.”

KZN Public Works spokesperson Kiru Naidoo said the department had a provincial master-plan, which was linked to the National Development Plan 2030.

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