City Press Reporters | 2019-08-09 05:00
Image source: Stock/Gallo images
As part of our jobs, journalists meet all sorts of people, from celebrities to politicians.
Often, we walk away feeling dejected and despondent. But sometimes, the people we interview leave us feeling invigorated and inspired.
These are some of them:
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, small business minister
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni at her swearing in as an MP by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. Picture: Cebile Ntuli
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, South Africa’s small business minister, once tried to persuade Nelson Mandela to get the ANC to negotiate that 16 be the voting age.
She was 14 at the time. It was the 1990s, during the heady days of the Convention for a Democratic SA.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was present during the interaction.
The interaction with Madiba planted the seeds of “focus and determination” in Ntshavheni, who says these are the same character traits that, years later, defined the role she played as municipal manager of Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipality in Limpopo – in particular, the lesson that “age, gender and race have no bearing on my ability to achieve my set targets despite the obstacles”.
At age 42, Ntshavheni is one of the youngest ministers in the new Cabinet.
One of her most pressing tasks is to ask Parliament to amend the Small Business Act to better deal with current issues facing the sector.
This will entail updating the act to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access funding from state agencies and the banking sector, and to ensure that small businesses are paid within the prescribed 21 days.
She says big business, too, ought to assist in creating access to markets for small traders and, as a measure of last resort, “if we need to set quotas, it should be so”.
Ntshavheni believes that if small businesses are able to survive the first five years of being established and could grow to medium-sized businesses, job creation would boom.
“To achieve this, we need to remove the red tape, improve their cash flow through paying them on time, help them access markets for their products, and upskill them for proper financial management.”
Sufficient groundwork has been done, she says, and now it is time for implementation.
– Setumo Stone