DURBAN, January 9 – President Cyril Ramaphosa told a young professionals’ meeting on Wednesday night to knock on as many doors as possible when seeking business funding instead of limiting themselves to one potential funder.
“People who are serious about business will kiss as many frogs as possible, and they will one day find their prince. Go to as many sources as possible to try to find sources to fund your business. You have to keep knocking on every door. You must never tire until you achieve your objective,” said Ramaphosa.
He was speaking at the Durban City Hall as part of the governing party’s 107th birthday celebrations, which will culminate in the African National Congress (ANC) manifesto launch at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
ANC leaders have been in the province since the weekend, drumming up support for the manifesto launch.
Wednesday night’s gathering took the form of a dialogue, with many attendants standing in line to share their ideas for job creation and asking Ramaphosa for government assistance with entering the “monopolised” business landscape.
Ramaphosa structured his responses by focusing on collaboration between government, the private sector, and citizens.
He said KwaZulu-Natal had to wake up to the many opportunities on offer in the hospitality and tourism industries.
“KwaZulu-Natal must wake up and realise that the hospitality industry — tourism — is your biggest differentiator in South Africa. We would like to see so many more tourists coming from within the country and outside the country,” he said.
The state would offer assistance for those wanting to exploit tourism opportunities, he said, as it was the job of government to enable businesses so that it could in turn collect taxes from successful enterprises.
He also recapped decisions taken at a national business summit held earlier in the year, saying that some believed the summit would not succeed because the government’s policy of land expropriation without compensation would scare away investors.
“But we said the land policy wasn’t being done out of vengeance, it was being done to address historical injustice against the people of our country. When we started explaining this, people started understanding, including landowners. We are now involved in a process of saying, yes, the constitution does allow for expropriation without compensation. We now are amending the constitution to make it clear, to explain how we are going to do it and which parcels are going to be part of expropriation,” he said.
“As we explained this, we did not scare investors. We had to be very direct and open. This is what the ANC is about and this is what it will do to advance the interests of South Africa, not the interests of certain groups or families. When we do it, we are going to be direct and proper and do it in a way that will contribute to growing the economy.”
Ramaphosa said the country had entered a period of renewal and that the ANC knew that the issue of corruption had to be dealt with “decisively”. This was one of the things that had led to the party “drifting”, he said, and was why the state capture commission was established.
Corruption would be “obliterated from the country’s landscape”, said Ramaphosa.
He also spoke about the responsibility of professionals. Although he did not attribute it, Ramaphosa quoted American president John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address by telling those present not to ask what their country could do for them, but what they could do for their country. (ANA)