The Democratic Alliance (DA) is targeting job creation in Gauteng which would include the funding of start-ups and small businesses as part of its wider election manifesto, set to be announced later in February.
“I believe that entrepreneurs must lead Gauteng. Entrepreneurs are the people at the front-lines of innovation and job creation,” said DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, Mmusi Maimane, during a dialogue with Business representatives in Johannesburg.
“We must create real jobs! But we must also create a province of entrepreneurs, each with their own job-creating businesses. We know that behind every successful business is a successful entrepreneur.”
Maimane announced his plan for Gauteng ahead of the elections set for 7 May, underlined by the following key pillars:
- Rolling out Small Business Incubators where start-ups can share free basic office resources in a single location;
- Establishing Opportunity Centres where entrepreneurs can access support services from government more easily than ever before;
- Pioneering a new system of Opportunity Cards for entrepreneurs as a means to access credit from government; as well as discounted business advisory services like accounting, training and insurance;
- Establishing an Academy for Entrepreneurs in Gauteng.
The DA argued that under former President, Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s economy grew at an average of 4.5% annually. This, it added, has dwindled to less than 1% at times under Jacob Zuma’s leadership. Unemployment remains stuck above 35%, the DA said.
“Under President Zuma, people are becoming unemployed at a rate six times faster than under President Mbeki,” Maimane said.
“As the Democratic Alliance, we have a tested and viable plan that will see the economy reach 8% in the next 10-years – the growth rate we need to create 6 million real jobs in South Africa and halve unemployment,” the political candidate said.
He said that, for a DA administration in Gauteng, the plan starts with the entrepreneur.
“The problem with the current system is that it disempowers entrepreneurs. Government stands in our way through corruption, red tape, and mistrust – in fact, government today does not believe that the private sector can be at the forefront of change,” Maimane said.
The DA said that government owns 55% of the land in Gauteng, with many buildings on that land are either vacant or under-utilised.
“Our vision is to put out a call for the best business ideas in Gauteng, and then rent out government buildings to the most innovative people for just R1 a year. These premises will act as incubators for small business.
“We will also subsidise basic resources like internet and phone lines free of charge. Imagine what a difference that will make for many up and coming entrepreneurs with serious plans to grow their business and create jobs,” Maimane said.
In other government buildings, the DA said it will establish Opportunity Centres that will act as one-stop shops for businesses to get advice and support on their operations.
The party said that one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is access to expensive business advisory services like accounting, insurance and training for staff.
“That’s why for qualifying entrepreneurs, we intend to roll-out Opportunity Cards. We will make a budget available, in partnership with the private sector, to provide credits on these cards to businesses so that they can access support services from accredited suppliers at a discounted rate.
“That way, established suppliers benefit, and so do start-ups. Everybody wins.”
The DA said it would commit to partner with educational institutions and the private sector to establish an Academy for Entrepreneurs in Gauteng.