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President Cyril Ramaphosa SONA 2021

retailers and wholesalers and the majority of the products are agro-processed goods. In the meantime, the mining sector continues to provide business opportunities for SMMEs in the services sector, and we are working with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to support the participation of SMMEs in the mining value chains, including primary mining activities. In the State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa referred to the 1000 products that have been identified for production by SMMEs within the localisation policy framework. We are pleased to report that we have working arrangements with standards bodies and regulatory authorities to ensure that SMME and cooperative manufacturers are not frustrated by regulatory protocols that are necessary to ensure the quality of our products. Through these working relationships, SMMEs and Cooperatives enjoy a fast-tracked process. The outbreak of the pandemic is yet another reminder that the 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us. The economy and everything else have gone digital. Connectivity of South Africa and access to affordable high speed broadband is no longer optional, but has become an essential service like water and electricity. Our connectivity programme has to be revised from connecting health and schools to connecting homes, therefore the Department of Communications and Digital Technology is already revising the guidelines and our approach for connectivity. Let us take heed of President Ramaphosa’s wise words, that “People of South Africa, it is your country that calls on you to rise” and intensify our collective efforts to grow South Africa. We live in extraordinary times and this requires extraordinary measures. Our immediate task is to pull our people out of the rut, and rise together as we build a better future for South Africa. President Ramaphosa has pointed the way, we shall not be deterred. Khumbudzo Ntshavheni is the Minister of Small Business Development and Acting Minister in the Presidency. This is an edited version of her speech delivered in the National Assembly on 16 February 2021.

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Municipal Focus Magazine - Volume 51