Karen de Kock, MPL
DA Northern Cape
076 546 8663
The Democratic Alliance is concerned that Waldeck’s, a start-up entrepreneur business in Delportshoop run by and employing hearing impaired persons, is set to close its doors at the end of the month due to unfulfilled promises by the Northern Cape Department of Economic Development.
Waldeck’s specializes in trailers and general welding works and is run by Dawie Waldeck, who is deaf.
He has in turned trained and employed other deaf people at his business.
Apparently the provincial Department of Economic Development was so impressed with the project that they urged Mr Waldeck to apply for funding to the value of R1, 5 million. He subsequently submitted all the necessary applications and incurred costs to expand the business but unfortunately the money never came through.
Waldeck’s now has to close its doors due to debt despite Mr. Waldeck investing some of his pension money in order to try and keep the business afloat. In addition, four hearing impaired employees have been laid off whilst one was forced to sell all his furniture just to have something to eat.
Failing the disabled in such a manner is unacceptable. I saw firsthand the pain and hardship that these people have to endure. But I also saw the courage and determination to overcome, as well as a supportive community.
There is hope if compassion is combined with practical upliftment measures. The DA supports an easily accessible welfare net for all types of disabilities and approves of targets in terms of employment, skills development and procurement from the disabled. The DA has on numerous occasions emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship and the need to roll out the red carpet instead of red tape when it comes down to small and medium businesses.
It is indeed very sad to see how people’s entrepreneurial spirit is broken and even more so when it happens to disabled people. We will endeavor to see if we can obtain some funds to keep the business open and will also be asking the Department of Economic Development parliamentary questions for reasons behind their unfulfilled promise and the tragic consequences thereof.