President Jacob Zuma last night announced an overhaul of the government’s procurement policy in a bid to support black and small businesses.
He was speaking at a Black Business Council dinner in Sandton.
The amendment bill is now in the consultative phase before it goes to parliament.
In his address, Zuma focused on how the Chinese were growing their economy as a model on which to build South Africa’s.
But he conceded that hard work and discipline were at the centre of growth.
“It is not like in the old days where we could ask the son of God to intervene,” Zuma joked.
He said economic freedom was still lagging behind and could only be achieved if black people had access to funding – a sentiment he has often repeated.
“At the heart of the economy is finance. If you are deprived access to finance you are deprived access of economic opportunities.”
Zuma pointed to the National Empowerment Fund as a vehicle to assist in funding black businesses
In relation to how much the NEF has spent, Zuma said: “To us figures look big but in the real economy it is less than peanuts.”
Earlier, NEF head Philisiwe Buthelezi lashed out at those “who think they own the funds they are entrusted with”.
This was seen as a veiled attack on the National Treasury, which under the stewardship of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, has tried to cut back on spending.