In her speech during the state of the nation debate on Wednesday, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the government would use its annual R500bn procurement expenditure like the AK-47s used by Operation Vula soldiers in the struggle. As a former Umkhonto weSizwe operative, Zulu knows the destructive power of the AK-47.
To compare its procurement budget to this weapon is to imply there is an enemy to be destroyed in the march to economic liberation.
The sub-text is clear: the enemy is so-called "white monopoly capital". Government procurement is a blunt weapon and, on its own, will fail to stimulate small businesses and entrepreneurship. Instead of seeing "white monopoly capital" as the enemy, Zulu should view the business sector in its entirety as an ally. She should modify her belligerent language and instead use the language of co-operation, collaboration and competitiveness to drive her policy thinking.
Toby Chance, MP
DA spokesman for small business development