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Bidvest founder to offer portion of business to entrepreneurs

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Bidvest Group founder Brian Joffe plans to give a portion of the business to dedicated entrepreneurs, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mzwandile Masina said.

"A number of people have already applied and officials are already looking into it," he said of the company Joffe founded about 30 years ago.

The listed international services and distribution company is being restructured and Joffe plans to step down once the separate listing of Bidvest's food services company has gone through.

Masina was responding to a question in the National Assembly on whether he could commit to a policy whereby no friends or family members of the ANC benefit from department contracts and investment opportunities.

Masina took exception and said the people who would be selected for the Bidvest offer would not be cronies of the ANC, as suggested.

"It will be credible individuals," he said, to roars from the opposition benches.

"If they are qualified ANC people, we are not going to sit here and grandstand and say they are not welcome," he said.

The government has come under scrutiny for the way big contracts are awarded, with many believing that ANC members get first dibs.

Masina rejected a suggestion that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was among those in line to benefit from deals through the black industrialist programme.

"When people want to cast doubt on the leadership of the movement, we have a responsibility to respond.

"The deputy president of the republic and the ANC is a successful businessman. He has never been brought to court for his business dealings.

"For us to come here and speak like that it is very worrying," he said.

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