Dying diggers of Namaqualand need saving
Democratic Alliance press statement by
Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL
DA NC Spokesperson for Economic Affairs
13 May 2016
The Democratic Alliance is concerned that the Annual Performance Plan for 2016/17 from the Northern Cape department of Economic Development & Tourism shows no strong plans to stimulate economic growth and job creation.
It is disconcerting that the department plans to reduce funding to the Economic Growth and Development Fund, which performs the core function of small business development. Almost R36 million will be taken from this Fund over the next three years. We understand that cost containment is necessary in the current fiscal environment, but it makes absolutely no sense to cut costs to core functions. We need to work with local small and micro enterprises and regional economic development agencies to promote our local entrepreneurs regionally and nationally if we want to develop the Northern Cape’s economy.
The Democratic Alliance has been vocal about the failures of the Fund in the past, as it has operated as a vehicle for cronyism and selected projects of dubious worth based on the personal or political connections of the beneficiaries. The solution, however, lies in fixing the approach of the department and not in reducing funding for deserving entrepreneurs who are selected on merit.
The plan itself is of an unacceptable quality, as it contains numerous grammatical errors and references to irrelevant legislation. Targets are poorly described, with little to no information about how the department will go about implementing them. Overall, the impression is created that the department either does not care about economic development or does not know how to go about it.
This includes the crucial aspect of job creation. The department has consistently failed to create an economic environment which is conducive for the sustained creation of jobs, as can be seen from the latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey. Unemployment has increased by 2% in the province since the previous quarter and the expanded unemployment rate now stands at 38%. The dignity and the independence of those who are deprived of the opportunity to work is being damaged.
We need a lean, clean department which is capable of addressing this challenge efficiently and cost-effectively; not a department which cuts funding to its core functions.
The Democratic Alliance believes that more opportunities need to be created through an accountable, responsive government which prioritises the needs of the people. We want to be the change that will stop corruption and create jobs for the people of the Northern Cape. Clearly, we need change to move the Northern Cape forward.
Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL
DA Provincial Spokesperson for Economic Affairs
082 302 2117
079 874 6179
076 551 0312