Build One South Africa leader, Mmusi Maimane, says rampant corruption in the public and private sector is making it difficult for businesses to survive.
Maimane was the guest speaker at a meeting with business owners in George in the Western Cape.
He called on business owners to prioritise their values above all else, and to ensure their employees and community at large benefit from their success.
Small businesses in George, both formal and informal, are struggling to keep afloat.
Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic have a negative impact, but municipal by-laws also make it difficult for entrepreneurs to get a foothold in the local economy.
Brenda Vorster, the vice-chairperson of the George Business Chamber, says the red tape is making it difficult for small businesses to survive.
“When you start a business, it falls before it even starts. Because people are not familiar with what they need to do and every single thing that needs to be done requires investment and money to do it. My problem with the way in which we do things in our city, and our country for that matter is that we don’t offer small business the opportunity to flourish before we break them down.”
Speaking to business owners, Maimane said change can only be realised when the private and public sector work together.
He called on entrepreneurs to be more actively involved in the decision-making processes that affect small businesses.
“When it comes to public participation, we need to be able to respond to how by-laws are structured, but I also do think that what happens, is that in issues with the IDP as it’s written for municipalities, they are copy and paste situations without realising the potential of a city like George. And so I want to urge again, that when all of those submissions are made, challenge the business community to participate in that.
Collaboration in the local economy also means all spheres of society should get involved, including religious and civil leaders.
Local pastor, Jannie Hornie says, “We need to collaborate, we need to talk, we need to engage. We need to be activists for change within our societies and I know I’ve been here for 39 years. It’s not easy, but it’s working and I see a tipping point that our country is facing. Things will change.