Welcome boost for Ndlambe SMMEs

Minister hands over much needed equipment to 68 beneficiaries

Dozens of small, medium and micro business owners gathered in Titi Jonas multipurpose Centre on Thursday November 2 to receive tools of trade. Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, addressed the gathering. Other guests included Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) Board chairperson Xoliswa Daku and infrastructure portfolio chair in the Sarah Baartman District Council Athenkosi DIniso. Members of the ANC caucus of the Ndlambe Council were there to welcome the VIP entourage.

Local economic development (PED) manager for Ndlambe Municipality Qawekazi Mampana explained how the handover had come about.

“In Ndlambe, two priority sectors drive the local economy,” Mampana said. “Agriculture and tourism. Neither is performing fully and so we have looked at SMMEs for our development focus.”

Mampana said the project was a partnership with small businesses and supported by the national Department of Small Business Development.

Included in this programme to provide tools of trade are informal traders.

“Informal traders are often neglected, yet they make a large contribution to the economy,” Mampana said.

The process of selecting beneficiaries had started in March, when informal entrepreneurs were invited to a workshop.

“There, they indicated what tools of trade they would require to run their businesses effectively.”

There were applications for people practicing a variety of trades including motor mechanics, catering, grass cutting and spa treatments.

Of more than 100 applications, 68 were selected to receive the equipment, which was laid out across the centre’s large floor area. A quick tour showed a range of equipment, including tool set, angle grinder, air compressor, dough roller/ cake mixer, gas cookers, fridges, stoves, wirless printers, an industrial sewing machine, deep freezers, a chain saw, wheellbarrow, brush cutter and lawnmower. 

With each individualized equipment cluster was documentation that included a contract the recipients had to sign.

“The recipients have to sign a contract that they will use the equipment for the purpose intended and not sell it when times get hard,” Mampana said. She said her department would be monitoring the operations of the beneficiaries.

Construction contractor Mzimkhulu Michael Shoba spoke on behalf of the recipients. He referred to the National Development Plan’s (NDP’s) vision for 2030, which includes that South Africa needs to have about 11 million additional jobs by 2030.

Referencing figures cited in the 2016 Seda-commissioned Bureau for Economic Research document, ‘The small, medium and micro enterprise sector of South Africa: Research Note’, he said 2.5 million SMMEs employed 8 million people and that it was clear SMMEs were crucial to achieving the the NDP goals.

Port Alfred was one of Ndabeni-Abrahams’s stops in a tour of the Eastern Cape last week that government communication services said was part of her ongoing nation-wide programme to support small businesses and informal traders. 

She handed over business equipment to several small businesses in Makana and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela local municipalities as part of the department’s Informal and Micro Enterprises Development Programme (IMEDP). 

“IMEDP seeks to grow informal and micro enterprises to their full potential,” the government statement explained. “It is also an intervention that helps address challenges relating to sustainable livelihoods, unemployment and inequality.”

On the same day as her visit to Ndlambe, the Minister launched the Crudastar Incubator in Makana Local Municipality. 

“The department seeks to create an enabling environment for the growth and development of small enterprises with a bias towards rural and township-based start-ups owned by women, youth and persons with disabilities,” the statement read.

Scheduled later on Thursday was the finals of the Eastern Cape Pitch for Funding competition. Pitch for Funding is a platform for SMMEs to showcase their ideas, innovations, and business cases to the DSBD family and its partners. It facilitates their access to both financial and non-financial support.  


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According to the BER report, published in 2016:

Number of SMMEs 2 251 821

Number of formal SMMEs 667 433

Number of informal SMMEs 1 497 860

SMME owners as % of total employment 14%

% operating in trade & accommodation 43%

% operating in community services 14%

% operating in construction 13%

% operating in fin. & business services 12%

% contribution to GVA* 21%

% black owned formal SMMEs 34%

% operated by income group < R30k pa 7%

Source: BER, StatsSA *GDP before taxes and subsidies