by Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL – DA Provincial Spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development & Tourism
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Date: 13 March 2018
The Democratic Alliance calls on the Department of Economic Development & Tourism to make transparent, fair and economically sensible allocations through the Economic Growth & Development Fund in 2018/19. This fund needs to provide support to entrepreneurs based on their business plans, not their political connections.
We have been reliably informed that, with only two weeks left in the financial year, the department is yet to allocate funding for 2017/18 to entrepreneurs. Today’s invitation in the local media to local entrepreneurs to apply for funding for 2018/19 through the Economic Growth & Development Fund is therefore nothing but a smokescreen to cover up more controversy at this corruption fund.
It also happened in the 2016/17 financial year that successful applicants only received their allocations later in 2017/18. These delays have an extremely adverse impact on small businesses, which have limited cash flow and rely on the promise of support from the provincial government.
The department appears to be content to create a cycle where it is left with unallocated funding at the end of the financial year so that it can then quickly channel these funds to cronies and so sustain the patronage network on which the provincial ANC is built. We have seen this from reports submitted at the end of each financial year, which detail how the politically connected elite benefit at the cost of deserving entrepreneurs who do not have the right political membership. This corruptive collusion robs the province of opportunities for growth and job creation.
We are also disturbed by the fact that the department has contracted the services of a consultant to advise and make recommendations on applications. These skills should be available within the department, so why is limited funding spent on a consultant whose only purpose is to advance the network of cronies? Is it because the consultant is a mkhaya of the MEC?
We also need to see that funding is allocated purely for the purposes of SMME development in the province. In the past, allocations have been paid for purposes as diverse as sports development and the promotion of non-violent conflict resolution in Africa. While these are indeed worthy goals to pursue, they do not fall within the mandate of the department. We are therefore intrigued to note that events will no longer be supported through the Economic Growth & Development Fund and trust that this measure will limit the double dipping which places a strain on our limited resources.
The people of the province have a choice – to either put their faith in a corrupt administration which has proven that it does not have their best interests at heart or to put their trust in the DA for Total Change. Where we govern, we have proven that the implementation of our strategies to support entrepreneurs and SMMEs work. And we can definitely do the same in the Northern Cape.
Adv Boitumelo Babuseng, MPL
DA Provincial Spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development & Tourism
082 302 2117 / 079 874 6179
071 251 5558