by Andrew Louw – DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape
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Date: 07 August 2018
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During an oversight inspection I conducted today at the Galeshewe SMME Village with the DA’s provincial spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development & Tourism, Adv. Boitumelo Babuseng, it became clear that the ANC-led government is failing the people of the Northern Cape by not providing a plan for access to job and the building of a vibrant and inclusive economy.
At 44%, the province has the highest youth unemployment rate in the country and it is therefore more necessary than ever before to prioritise support to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to ensure that we can create an environment conducive for sustained job creation and access to job opportunities.
It appears that the original agreement of using the centre as a business incubation hub has changed and the centre has now become a multi-purpose operation, with a greater focus on training students than before. This is a wonderful intention and can indeed be of great benefit to young people in our community, but it is a concern that SMME support is lagging. What good are skills if they cannot be used to participate in the economy. The ANC has created an economic environment which sheds jobs rather than create them.
Although the centre originally had thirty SMMEs in operation, it now appears to have only ten businesses operating on its premises.
To date, none of the SMMEs incubated at the centre can be used as a flagship. The initial agreement was that SMMEs would be given a period of three years, benefiting from office space and shared services, to become sustainable and empowered to operate on different premises. This would create space for new entrants.
But many of the SMMEs still operating at the Galeshewe SMME Village were there when the centre was launched and have not yet been able to become financially independent. Shared services such as bookkeeping and tender advice also appears not to have materialised.
This trend is not unique to the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality. Research done by SEDA shows that the number of SMME owners in the Northern Cape decreased from 27 868 in 2016 to just 14 940 in 2017, which is a sharp decrease in the space of just one year. With so much of South Africa’s job creation potential in the SMME sector, the decline in SMME ownership and support needs to be stemmed if the economy in the Northern Cape is to show any improvement.
The DA’s track record in government shows that we are the only party with the policies and political will to support SMMEs as a key vehicle in job creation initiatives. The people of the Northern Cape cannot continue to suffer and go hungry because of mismanagement of the economy by the ANC. The Northern Cape deserves a DA-led government that will usher in change that builds an economy and gives our people access to jobs.
DA Provincial Leader in the Northern Cape
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