Phumlani M. MajoziBy Phumlani M. Majozi|November 25, 2021|6 Minutes|In Opinion

Opinion

"Study to start your own business!"

I am electing to write about the importance of business and business growth this week. Because it is my strong belief that to surmount the challenges of South Africa’s skyrocketing rates of joblessness, and dismal economic growth, stronger business productivity will be key.

When I talk about “business”, some people tend to think that I only talk about big corporations that “exploit” people and “damage the environment for profit”. Not really! I am mostly talking about small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in townships and in small and big towns across South Africa. All kinds of pro-growth policies must be adopted so that these SMEs can rapidly grow and contribute to South Africa’s economic progress. Their rapid growth will address many of the fundamental socio economic problems our nation faces.

The importance of business, as a tool to reduce poverty, should not only be understood by the political elite and technocrats. Private citizens must also understand why business growth will save South Africa.

If citizens understand the importance of business, then they will pressure politicians to do what is right to boost entrepreneurship in the country.

What we must do as South Africans, is to first believe in the power of the market. This is where people produce, buy, and sell. Efficient markets, with very limited government intervention, will help with business growth in South Africa.

We tend to think that each and every one of us must be employed by a firm or company. We must now see ourselves as job creators. Because let’s be honest, the African National Congress (ANC) government is failing on job creation. Partly because the party is led by people who know nothing, nothing, about how to grow the economy and create wealth. Nevertheless, despite the party’s bad policies on many fronts, we must strive to be entrepreneurs for the betterment of our lives.

Government’s purpose at this point, as we recover from the lockdowns, must be to allow and encourage business to be at the forefront of business productivity.

Now some will ask: But how when businesses have been decimated over the past year of lockdowns? Well, it has been tough for businesses no doubt. The government must remove regulations, reduce taxes, and, in collaboration with the private sector, help with funding where necessary. It is the government that locked down the country over the past year, therefore it must provide funding to businesses that were damaged. Hence, I supported the R200 billion Covid-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government last year.

It would be ignorant of us to talk about the importance of stronger business productivity and not mention Eskom’s damaging persistent power outages. Business cannot function with the ongoing power outages. This power problem is a problem that must be blamed on the ANC.

Why do I keep mentioning the ANC? Because it is the governing party with the mandate to manage South Africa’s economy. The ANC is expected to craft and implement policies that boost entrepreneurship and business productivity. Given that reality, the party has two options: either pursue policies that will expand the economy, or pursue counterproductive policies.

What we must remind ourselves of, is that we are competing with other countries amongst the major emerging markets. Our businesses must compete in the global market. Hence, it is important that our business grow and become stronger.

Last July’s riots caused much damage to the peoples’ businesses in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. It is very important to highlight that law and order is a prerequisite to build businesses that thrive and are competitive. Businesspeople want to feel safe. Effective law and order is the government’s responsibility.

We all need to invest in entrepreneurship. It will take dedication and accountability to grow South Africa’s business and for us to be an entrepreneurial society.

The strong drive on entrepreneurship also needs to be visible in schools. So that young people can understand that they don’t have to study to work for other people in their lifetime. They can study to start their own businesses.

The entrepreneurship initiative needs both private citizens and the government – with citizens holding the government accountable.

 

Phumlani M. Majozi is a senior fellow at African Liberty. His website is phumlanimajozi.com. Follow him on Twitter: @PhumlaniMMajozi.

Share this content