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Ramaphosa urges black businesses to participate in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

President Ramaphosa said that his government wanted to support black businesses but he added that with government taking on the role of leading, not only negotiations, but the purchasing of vaccines, it was likely that most would not benefit from the procurement processes.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that while black businesses should participate effectively in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, he did not see a lot of opportunities, as government would be the main acquirer.

Ramaphosa was speaking during the African National Congress (ANC)’s top 6 discussions with its progressive business forum on Tuesday on the back of the party’s January 8 statement.

He said that most businesses were likely to benefit from the distribution phase of the vaccines and called on forums and organisations to work together to better maximise on the opportunities.

South Africa is set to receive its first doses of vaccines in the coming weeks, with healthcare workers being among the first to be inoculated.

President Ramaphosa said that his government wanted to support black businesses but he added that with government taking on the role of leading, not only negotiations but the purchasing of vaccines, it was likely that most would not benefit from the procurement processes.

"There are going to be opportunities but they're not going to be a plethora of opportunities as I see it because the channel is government."

Ramaphosa has urged different business groupings to band together in order to get the most out of the vaccine rollout process.

He said that 2021 was the year to move the needle on black business.

"To go beyond the broad economy, go into the sectors of the economy, look at the various sectors that are the real engines of economic progress and see how black people can participate."

The president also said that his government was serious about economic empowerment and was in the process of appointing black economic empowerment and youth councils.

WATCH: SA's vaccine strategy: what you need to know

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