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Black Business Federation visits former president Jacob Zuma at Nkandla

Former president Jacob Zuma who has been hailed an RET champion. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Former president Jacob Zuma who has been hailed an RET champion. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Feb 10, 2022

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Durban - The Black Business Federation (BBF) on Thursday followed a string of individuals and organisations that have in recent months paid visits to Jacob Zuma, heading to the former president’s Nkandla homestead to express its gratitude for his support of black businesses during his 9-year tenure as president.

Malusi Zondi, president of the BBF, said Zuma had long been a strong supporter of black-owned businesses, particularly those in the townships and rural areas.

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“His efforts to improve the country’s economic growth are admirable, especially when he had to contend with sceptics who believed that local black businesses should not be prioritised,” Zondi said.

He said that despite the controversy surrounding Zuma, he had achieved several accomplishments and milestones during his presidency that had not received the respect or credit they deserved.

He hailed the Zuma government’s efforts to collaborate with the labour and business sectors to establish an enabling climate for the economic growth and development of local black businesses by providing policy clarity and increasing investor confidence.

“We believe it is vital to demonstrate our gratitude for former president Zuma's dedication to the economic emancipation of black people and the growth of their businesses in the manner in which the South African presidency accounts for all of his wonderful achievements,” Zondi said.

He referred to programmes such as Operation Phakisa in Durban, which aimed to help the country achieve economic transformation, as among the achievements of the Zuma administration.

“Operation Phakisa was also utilised to speed up the implementation of elements of the National Development Plan that deal with reviving growth and creating jobs, as well as enhancing socio-economic services.

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“Zuma’s administration also established the Department of Small Business Development in 2014, emphasising the role of small businesses and co-operatives in economic growth and employment creation, with a particular focus on previously disadvantaged individuals and organisations,” Zondi said.

He also credited the Zuma administration for its radical economic transformation programmes where the government announced new legislation in 2017 requiring large contractors to split at least 30% of work with black-owned businesses.

Zondi added that the development of the Black Industrialist Programme in 2016 was one of a number of comprehensive policies taken by former Zuma during his presidency, in which his administration took concrete steps to increase the economic imprint of black people.

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He added that as a result, the Department of Trade and Industry endorsed 31 black industrialists in 2017, promising to invest R3 billion and create 4 416 jobs.

“Likewise, 36 black industrialists were assisted to the tune of R1bn in the 2016/17 financial year, resulting in the development of roughly 7 000 jobs. The government responded by establishing the Employment Fund, which received a grant of almost R6bn to encourage the private sector to create more jobs and grow the South African economy from within.

“Former president Zuma’s heart has always been in the right place. His unwavering commitment to the people of South Africa, as well as his unmeasured efforts to support and promote the economic growth of local black businesses, is incomparable,” Zondi said.

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Mzwanele Manyi, spokesperson for the Jacob Zuma Foundation, said that he was not aware of the visit by the BBF.

“At Nkandla everybody just comes and goes there. I don't always know every little detail as to who goes there, so I can’t sit here and confirm or deny it with you. I’m not aware, it’s the first time I’m hearing of it,” Manyi said.

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Political Bureau

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