Education Gap Hurts S. African Entrepreneurs, Zuma Says

Education Gap Hurts S. African Entrepreneurs, Zuma Says

South African President Jacob Zuma told young entrepreneurs at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus in a recent address that black entrepreneurs face challenges running businesses due to the fact that many of them were deprived of a good education, according to a report in Business Day Live.

Zuma said the young entrepreneurs must take the lead in shaping their own future, in which education will play a critical role. He added education should not only be free, but it should also be illegal for South Africans not to obtain an education.

Anyone critical of the governing African National Congress’s performance in education does not understand the devastating impact the apartheid regime has had on most South Africans, Zuma said. South Africa has accomplished much in education, despite the fact that the past regime designed education systems with the goal of depriving most of the population of economic freedom, he added, according to the report.

The entrepreneurs in attendance asked their president to help them with issues including access to financing, late payment by government to small businesses and dropout rates at universities in South Africa.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane insisted the provincial government now pays on time for as much as 76 percent of services rendered to it and hopes to further improve that rate as it continues to wrestle with difficult contract management issues. She added it was important to ensure “that every department must have direct contact with the department of finance,” the Business Day Live report said.

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Zuma advised the entrepreneurs to register to vote in next year’s national elections, echoing a similar challenge to Soweto residents earlier that day as part of a door-to-door campaign he waged in the Johannesburg area. He urged them not to take their right to vote for granted, maintaining if one does not vote because they dislike what is currently taking place in government, “it is like taking your right and throwing it into the sea.”