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Speeches by Edith Vries at the National General Council

Some of you have been talking about capturing and recrafting narrative. The one thing that I am curious about and would like to promote is that we lead and craft that narrative from that which works. Because if we start the problem-solving or the new solution from just the perspective of correcting a problem rather than that which works, we probably would come up with different solutions. For example, I recently moved to this portfolio from Agriculture and so very often we talk about the commercial sector that is hostile and keeping people out. It might be right in the Agricultural sector - there is dominance, but there also are good examples. And where are those good examples of the big people, who have actually in a genuine way, and not in an exploitative way, made space for the small businesses to grow? So that is my one point - to lead from that which works.

And then in terms of new opportunities, I can mention the Mackenzie report with reference to our programmes around energy - one of the programmes on the table is the National Renewable Energy Programme that has to be rolled out at scale. A significant percentage of the work involved in that, of the value in that, has to be driven by small enterprises. Secondly, the technology that is being used needs to be local. So what we are interested in now is the small businesses that have ventured into this area because we have to start with those areas. We have already started a conversation with Science and Technology to ask whether there is an accredited South African solar energy technology, a platform. And they have said as far as they know there isn't. But once we put the concept there, it can be developed in a short time.

And so we look at those new sectors - the solar energy is one, the oceans economy is another, aquaculture, for example, is another.

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