Gauteng Enterprise Propeller Extends a Helping Hand
to Small businesses Affected by Recent Looting

By: Siphiwe Hlope

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), in partnership with Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), recently launched the Gauteng Rebuilding Fund as a response to the negative economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the July civil unrest on businesses in Gauteng.

An entity of the Gauteng Provincial Government, GEP contributed R50 million, and the IDC matched its contribution rand-for-rand, bringing the fund’s total value to R100 million. The civil unrest ravaged economic infrastructure in various Gauteng townships, especially in the cities of Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Tshwane.

Among other things, the fund’s purpose is to assist businesses that were not covered by insurance, and were not assisted through other funds, to rebuild, repair, and replace damaged infrastructure and critical inventory. The fund will provide relief to both formal and informal businesses in what is known as blended financing, a combination of 50% loan and 50% grant. Funding will be capped at R1 million for smaller but formal enterprises in distress, a grant of up to R50 000 will be given to qualifying informal businesses.

Since the fund’s launch in August 2021, over 500 applications have been received by GEP. Businesses that have applied range from small businesses in the tourism sector, entertainment and construction. GEP is currently processing all applications that have met the criteria and whose documentation is complete. However, many businesses that have applied still require more time and assistance in completing their applications and collating all the needed information for their applications. GEP’s CEO, Saki Zamxaka, confirms that GEP has not set a closing date for the applications, which will allow businesses in need enough time to submit their applications.

“The application process remains open until the funds are depleted. Those applicants who have their applications declined on the basis of incomplete documents and incorrectly filled forms can still correct the errors and reapply,” emphasised Zamxaka.

Zamxaka urged applicants to check the requirements and ensure they were fulfilled before submitting the application. The requirements are as follows:

  • Have a valid South African identity document.
  • The business must Operate within Gauteng.
  • It must be 100% owned by a South African citizen.
  • It must have been in operation as of 01 June 2021 (a bank statement is needed to prove operations).
  • If it is an informal trader, it must have an original and valid trading permit.
  • If it is an SMME, it must be registered and compliant with CIPC and SARS.

For more information on requirements, applications and any other information related to the Gauteng Rebuilding Fund, please visit www.gep.co.za

 

The township economy:
a strategically significant game changer

By: Lebogang Maile

Upon coming into office as the fifth administration in 2014, we dedicated ourselves to radically transforming, modernising and re-industrialising Gauteng City Region’s economy. A significant part of this drive to structurally transform our economy and give historically disadvantaged individuals greater participation and ownership within the mainstream economy is vested in our Township Economy Revitalisation (TER) strategy which is geared towards ensuring that township enterprises graduate to high-value commodities through structured manufacturing and production of key township goods and services. The goal is to turn the township economy into a future growth node that will fundamentally change the characteristics of the Gauteng economy in the medium to long-term.

TER identifies government as a key role player in ensuring that the township economy is integrated into the mainstream through the provision of multifaceted incentives targeting strategic urban nodes, corridors and sectors.  Government’s role within the strategy is to create an enabling environment for township enterprises to flourish by revitalising and building the productive capacity of the township economy so that townships become productive centres of the economy as opposed to merely being consumers of the first economy.

TER is an integral part of our Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation programme which seeks to build an inclusive, labour-absorbing and growing economy for the benefit of all its citizens. Through TER we have taken a producer-driven value chain philosophy, which seeks to build relationships and transfer skills between township entrepreneurs and established businesses in order to give township enterprises a larger portion of the manufacturing value chain so they can play a greater role in mainstream economic activity.

It is in line with this thinking that we have taken the following measures to bring this dynamic vision to pass:

  • We have established an NDP task team on township and village economies in order to develop a natural framework for supporting township enterprises, including village-based enterprises.
  • We have actively engaged over 250 listed companies to secure necessary commitments to support the township economy. The Public Investment Corporation as an example has put aside a portion of investment funds-worth billions of rands-specifically for the development of the township economy.
  • We have established partnerships with the commercial banking sector to make funding available for the township economy. Through this partnership, we have already secured a commitment of R250 million towards the township economy from the sector and are continuing with engagements to increase this amount.
  • We are looking at innovative ways to include township SMMEs in the private sector value chain within the auspices of transformative partnerships and direct seed capital towards township enterprises.
  • Through our implementing agencies, we are actively promoting townships as locations for foreign and domestic investment as well as working towards exposing township enterprises’ products to export markets in order to deal with funding and market access challenges that often provide a bottleneck to the growth and sustainability of township enterprises.
  • We have entered into strategic partnerships with institutions of higher learning to ensure that the structural bottlenecks related to knowledge production, innovation, skills development as well as research and development that township enterprises are prone to are addressed accordingly.
  • We are working towards an integrated approach to enterprise development within GCR (i.e. close linkages between financial and non-financial support as well as access to public and private markets).
  • We have identified township tourism as a sector with huge potential for growth, development and job creation and are focussing on building this segment of GCRs economy.
  • As the Gauteng provincial government, we have set ourselves a target of 30% of our goods and services budget being spent on township enterprises by 2019. For the 2016/17 financial year this target has been set at 18%.

These are some of the measures we have taken in our drive to transform, modernise and re-industrialise our economy with a specific emphasis on revitalising and mainstreaming the township economy. We firmly believe in the potential of our township economy to give our people greater participation within, as well as ownership of the mainstream economy and are excited to see the private sector and other relevant stakeholders within society coming to the party in order to support this vision. Ours remains in Premier David Makhura’s words, “to create a Gauteng City Region that has  seamlessly integrated, economically inclusive, globally competitive diverse and dynamic sectors that contribute to employment and empowerment; with good cross-cutting infrastructure; smart regulations, innovation, skilled, healthy and talented workforce; a Gauteng City Region that is a strong platform deepening Africa’s industrialisation and economic integration through services, manufacturing, infrastructure development and trade.”

 

The Significance of the African Investment Forum
in helping us overcome our socio-economic challenges

By: Lebogang Maile

Over the past few days the African Development Bank in partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government co-hosted the inaugural African Investment Forum (AIF), a platform to facilitate intra-African transactions as well as promote much needed investment.

This event is significant, in that it brought together stakeholders from all over the continent, in order to address our continent’s most pertinent socio-economic challenges through investment promotion and facilitation as well as providing further evidence of the success of our bidding and hosting strategy as a provincial government, with all the economic spinoffs that come with it. The AIF further shows the seriousness with which our government is approaching the investment drive of US$ 100 billion over five years announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year in order to stimulate economic growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life of our people.

The continent continues to attract high levels of interest as an investment destination, and is in fact now considered the second most attractive investment destination in the world. With 6 of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies in the world in 2018 emanating from Africa, the AIF once again positively affirmed our belief in the critical nexus between investment and economic growth towards long term economic development.

Gauteng, as the economic hub of the country and the continent has positioned itself as a leading player in the drive towards the sustainable growth and development of the continent, the re-industrialisation of the continent, greater regional and continental integration as well as increased intra-African trade and investment.

An example of this is our focus in the Gauteng Economic Development Plan on developing and enhancing our agro-processing capacity from an understanding that agriculture, which remains a backbone of many African economies as well as being the largest employer, holds huge potential to provide solutions to our socio-economic problems.

Agro-processing has the potential to become an industrial impetus for Africa and with its strong upstream and downstream linkages as well as being a subdivision of the manufacturing sector, can play a significant role in reviving manufacturing on the continent. With the increased demand for value-added goods, it can also help us address the need for further economic diversification and value-addition as well as tackle the challenge of food security by turning Africa from being a net importer of food to a net exporter, given the fact that the continent contains 65% of the world’s most arable, uncultivated land.

Foreign direct investment in agriculture and agribusiness has experienced enormous growth in the past few years, with investors seizing the opportunity to invest in the continent’s largely undeveloped agro-processing potential. It is such kind of investments, with developmental and socio-economic impact that we are pursuing through the AIF. Another sector which has experienced incredible growth on the continent is the ICT sector, as the continent readies itself to become a notable player within the Digital Age. Through the AIF, we are working towards bringing in catalytic investments in such sectors, as well as in big infrastructure projects, which are material in terms of removing some of the bottlenecks to economic development that countries around the continent are faced with.

Africa’s GDP has expanded impressively over the past decade, with major technological advancements, better cooperation between the public and private sectors, improvements in health and welfare amongst other things playing a critical role but there are still many challenges to be overcome in order to take the continent towards its ultimate developmental objects and it is through initiatives such as the AIF that we can come together and find common cause as Africans in pursuit of what has been dubbed the “African Century.”

A wise sage once stated that, “the opportunity of a lifetime, must be taken within the lifetime of that opportunity.” There is a window of opportunity for us as a continent to work together, build interdependency and develop the capacity that we need in order to attain the objectives so well articulated by former President Thabo Mbeki in his address at the United Nations University in April 1998, “We must succeed to rebuild and reconstruct our economies, achieve high and sustained rates of growth, reduce unemployment, and provide a better life for the people, a path on which we have embarked.

We must succeed to meet the needs of the people so as to end poverty and improve the quality of life by ensuring access to good education, adequate health care, decent homes, clean water and modern sanitation, and so on, again a process on which we have embarked.” Through the deals and transactions that have been concluded at the AIF, we have indeed taken a quantum leap towards a “New Dawn” for South Africa and the rest of the continent.

 

A new dawn to advance a Radical socio-economic
transformation agenda in honour of Madiba!

By: Lebogang Maile

During his inspiring maiden State of the Nation Address (SoNA) president Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, correctly observed that “we remain a highly unequal society, in which poverty and prosperity are still defined by race and gender”. This was a very commendable and bold statement coming from president Ramaphosa, given his standing and position in society, which signals a “new dawn” in tackling the serious challenges faced by our country and its people, with poverty, inequality and unemployment still at unacceptable levels.

President Ramaphosa’s bold statement also affirmed the governing party’s seriousness and commitment to advancing a more radical socio-economic transformation agenda, informed by resolutions taken at the watershed 54th national conference in Nasrec.

Interestingly this “new dawn” and refreshing leadership, emerges at a time we are celebrating Nelson Mandela’s centennial birthday and looking to honour and uphold his great legacy, as part of a generation of leaders that ushered us into a democratic era. One of the main areas of contention that we must of necessity consider, is the socio-economic impact on contemporary South Africa, of the compromises that were reached in order to bring us to the post-94, democratic dispensation.

In his seminal work, A History of Inequality in South Africa: 1652-2002, recently deceased academic and renowned progressive political economist professor Sampie Terreblanche argues that, “a momentous political transformation should be urgently complemented by an equally momentous socio-economic transformation in order to deracialise the economy, get rid of the ugly remnants of racial capitalism, and end poverty and destitution.”

An objective analysis of the socio-economic situation in contemporary South Africa leads one to conclude that this is one of the things that we have not managed to achieve in this new period, despite the many advances that we can be proud of. Since 1994, we find ourselves faced with the problem of a new political system, which to a large extent still maintains the old economic order.

Professor Terreblanche further posits that in order to bring about this socio-economic transformation, white South Africans (corporately) should acknowledge that they were beneficiaries of colonial segregation as well as apartheid and as a result they should be prepared to make the necessary conciliatory and restitutional sacrifices that will redress past imbalances and help us build the united, prosperous, non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous South Africa that Mandela gave his life to creating.

He further argues that the democratic compromises that ushered us into the post 94 era, fundamentally consisted of a pact between the new political elite and the old corporate order, which in effect led to the increased marginalisation and pauperisation of the impoverished black majority. His solution is that we should launch new and radical economic policies whose primary aim will be to redress the hundreds of years of racial oppression that have led to the subjugation of the black majority.

It is in line with this reasoning that at its 54th national conference, the African National Congress resolved to commit itself to, “fundamental and radical socioeconomic transformation of society to create a better life for all South Africans.” This is a renewed commitment to fundamentally, systemically and structurally transform the economy of South Africa so that it loses its colonial era racial and gender composition of ownership and management of our economy.

Radical socio-economic transformation is an existential necessity for us as a people, if we are to ever uphold and honour Nelson Mandela’s nation building legacy. It should not be seen as divisive, or as a threat to one race as opposed to another, but a necessary evolution in the life of this young nation as we continue on this nation building project we have been embarking upon.

Radical socio-economic transformation is about economic inclusiveness, historical redress, redistribution (income, wealth and asset redistribution). It is not a zero-sum game where we have to choose between the interests of business as opposed to the interests of the rest of society or between those of blacks and whites. It consists of a social compact, as stated by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address between the various stakeholders and interest groups within society in order to build a new economic order that will offer opportunity for advancement and upward mobility to all, and not just an elite few.

In his well-known speech, The Historical Injustice, delivered in Ottawa, Canada in 1978 former President Thabo Mbeki highlights this fact when he states that, “the anti-thesis to white supremacy, exclusiveness and arrogance is not a black version of the same practice. In the physical world, black might indeed be the opposite of white, but in the world of social systems, social theory and practice have as much to do with skin pigmentation as has the birth of the children with the stork. To connect the two is to invent a fable with the conscious or unconscious purpose of hiding reality. The act of negating the theory and practice of white apartheid racism, the revolutionary position is exactly to take the issue of colour, race, national and sex differentiation out of the sphere of rational human thinking and behaviour and thereby expose all colour, race, nation and sex prejudice as irrational.”

It is not that we are trying to posit black capitalism as the anti-thesis to white capitalism, as neither of these have any redeeming features as Mbeki highlights in this epic speech. Rather, we want to break the power of monopoly over all sectors of our economy, with highly concentrated ownership patterns where a few large firms (mainly white-owned and controlled for historically obvious reasons) control entire value chains and leave no room for small businesses to be able to enter and compete. This of course stifles innovation and keeps our economy from growing, diversifying and transforming as well as creating jobs so that we can give our people the better life that they deserve.

Through radical socio-economic transformation we want to use the state as a vehicle to advance the National Democratic Revolution and build the South Africa that Mandela and his generation gallantly fought for so many years to bring to pass. It is about bringing about the quickest and most fundamental social and economic change so that we can indeed become a “Rainbow Nation” on “whom the sun never sets” to use a phrase from Mandela’s 1994 inauguration speech.

  • Lebogang Maile is Gauteng MEC of Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development as well as a Provincial Working Committee (PWC) member of the ANC in Gauteng.

 

Gauteng is Indeed a Better Place to Live in

By: Lebogang Maile

On Monday 26th February 2018, Gauteng Premier David Makhura delivered the State of the Province address (SOPA), inspired by the thematic message of hope and renewal from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address. In it, he not only gave a reflective account of progress made since 2014, but also re-emphasised President Ramaphosa’s message that we want to be there and lend a hand to deliver on our electoral commitment and mandate given to us by our people.

We want to be guided by our revolutionary obligation and zeal to deliver a Gauteng city region that real belongs to all. We want to be there for those in the townships, the informal settlements, in hostels, farmworkers and everyone else who remains marginalised and on the periphery of economic activity and society within Gauteng.

In reflecting on the significant strides we have made since coming into office, on a ticket of radical transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation as the fifth administration in Gauteng in 2014, one is immediately drawn to the words uttered by Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of one of the world’s most iconic companies, Apple Inc. when he said, “I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life, but I’ve always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don’t know why, because they’re harder. They’re much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you’ve completely failed.”

As a government of revolutionary democrats, from the onset we set out on a radical path geared towards structurally re-aligning our economy, redressing past imbalances and creating an inclusive economy that creates opportunities for historically disadvantaged individuals to work and live in a better quality environment, grow their asset base, build new wealth and participate significantly as well as meaningfully within the mainstream economy.

Rolling out a revolutionary programme of such immense proportions is much harder and more taxing than looking to make incremental gains as Steve Jobs reminds us, especially given the patience that our people have shown in the past twenty plus years in their quest for the better life that the post 94 dispensation promised them.

It is also, as Jobs once again reminds us, a path filled with many critics who will inadvertently be waiting in the wings to constantly tell you that you have failed or are failing, hence one is never surprised to hear such constant criticisms from opposition benches and certain groups within society. It is “the road less travelled” to use a famous cliché by poet Robert Frost.

As Premier David Makhura highlighted in his State of the Province address earlier this week, despite the naysayers and doomsday prophets who thrived in the difficult environment that we have just recently come out of as a nation, we have indeed made much progress in our quest to build a more just, equitable, inclusive society for all our people.

Through our Tshepo 1 Million partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders, we have been training and equipping our young people in digital skills in order to prepare them to participate within the mainstream economy, especially as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the era of the knowledge economy.

The total number of youth to have benefitted from the programme since 2014 is 450 000. The programme is geared towards deliberately reaching out to marginalised and excluded people, with each young person who benefits from the programme supporting an average of 4-5 people and 41% of youth within the programme having children of their own.

Not only that, we have also been the leading province in deploying digital technology for learning and teaching as well as created platforms for innovation and entrepreneurship through our roll out of eKasi Labs and partnerships with Gauteng-based universities, research institutions and other knowledge economy catalysts for skills development as well as investment in research and development.

We have invested in catalytic, strategic economic infrastructure in order to rebuild and develop the productive capacity of our township economy, with 7 new industrial and business parks developed, 16 more in progress and another 10 industrial parks refurbished.

Infrastructure investment is integral to our social and economic transformation agenda and is right at the heart of our industrialisation drive within the city region. In the period under consideration, since we came into office +R30 billion was spent on infrastructure investment, with an average annual growth rate of 20.7%, which is the fastest growth rate in the country.

Through the implementation of the Gauteng Economic Development Plan with its sector based approach we have managed to create industry action labs in the following areas: capital equipment, mining and mineral beneficiation, automotive, Information and Communications Technology, Business Process Services and steel sectors.

These engagements have not only had the impact of saving jobs in highly pressurised industries such as the steel sector, but have also created transformative initiatives such as the South African Capital Equipment Export Council/Gauteng Growth and Development Agency partnership which is equipping 30 black industrialists from within the province. We have been able to create access to new markets through exciting initiatives such as the Zambian hub, which will give our entrepreneurs steady markets within which to sell their goods.

Progress has been made in modernising our services with online systems being implemented in provincial agencies such as the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller and the Gauteng Liquor Board and through our one stop investment shop, the Gauteng Investment Centre we have managed to facilitate investment that contributes significantly to the GDP of the provincial economy.

Our procurement policy has contributed largely to Township Economy Revitalisation, with over R17 billion now being spent on township based enterprises. This means that our spend on township enterprises has increased by 55% per annum. We are working at expanding this spend campaign to SOEs and the private sector through partnerships.

24487 SMMEs where supported along with 5510 cooperatives, indicating our belief in the importance of small businesses to the growth and transformation of our dynamic, modern economy. 38 township manufacturing projects where funded and 70 township tourism nodes were promoted in order to develop manufacturing capacity within our townships and use township tourism experiences with its rich heritage to grow township tourism.

We completed our asset register for government owned land and property and from that, we are going to lease out suitably located properties for township businesses, a critical intervention since the land question is one of the biggest challenges that township enterprises and black businesses are faced with.

The agricultural sector is a core part of our industrialisation drive and in order to increase our agro-processing capacity, we managed to build 8 agri-parks using ground-breaking hydroponics technology in some of them and we supported 60 agribusinesses with access to markets.

We have managed to roll out agro-processing machinery like abattoir equipment, vegetable cutting machines, cold trailers, moringa pellet machines, feed mills and egg grading machines. Agripreneurs and co-operatives in the Agriparks and surrounding the Agriparks where supported with vegetable inputs.

8235 households benefitted from agriculture food security initiatives, with a further 2242 smallholder farmers supported with agricultural advisory services as we sought to help them build sustainable agricultural enterprises in order to transform the sector.

In order to broaden access of veterinary services to all communities, we launched a project to roll out mobile clinic veterinary services. We pioneered the movable and mobile abattoir project in 2016, procuring 4 mobile abattoirs, with an additional 6 mobile abattoirs currently under procurement.

With regards to land reform, we have completed phase 1 of the land audit, helping us get a better understanding of land ownership patterns within the province and we are currently busy with phase 2, which is the final step before we embark on our progressive program of land expropriation without compensation, in line with current constitutional prerogatives.

Much progress has been made in building and transforming our economy, yet much more still needs to be done in terms of promoting localisation and manufacturing, in supporting black businesses to enter other economic sectors and to build new economic nodes, in linking our SMMEs, township enterprises and black businesses with supply chains of major corporations.

All of this remains a work in progress as we are into the final year of our term in office and requires us, in looking back in order to more impactfully go forward, to embrace the attitude encapsulated by the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, “Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

 

Jobs for our people

By: Lebogang Maile 

Upon hearing of the tragic recent events at Harrison Park Museum in Langlaagte, with the death of illegal miners making newspaper headlines, one was reminded of the poignant quote from Robert Tressell’s novel, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, “Poverty is not caused by men and women getting married; it’s not caused by machinery; it’s not caused by “over-production”; it’s not caused by drink or laziness; and it’s not caused by “over-population”. It’s caused by Private Monopoly. That is the present system. They have monopolised everything that it is possible to monopolise; they have got the whole earth, the minerals in the earth and the streams that water the earth. The only reason they have not monopolised the daylight and the air is that it is not possible to do it. If it were possible to construct huge gasometers and to draw together and compress within them the whole of the atmosphere, it would have been done long ago, and we should have been compelled to work for them in order to get money to buy air to breathe. And if that seemingly impossible thing were accomplished tomorrow, you would see thousands of people dying for want of air – or of the money to buy it – even as now thousands are dying for want of the other necessities of life. You would see people going about gasping for breath, and telling each other that the likes of them could not expect to have air to breathe unless they had the money to pay for it. Most of you here, for instance, would think and say so. Even as you think at present that it’s right for so few people to own the Earth, the Minerals and the Water, which are all just as necessary as is the air. In exactly the same spirit as you now say: “It’s Their Land,” “It’s Their Water,” “It’s Their Coal,” “It’s Their Iron,” so you would say “It’s Their Air,” “These are their gasometers, and what right have the likes of us to expect them to allow us to breathe for nothing?” And even while he is doing this the air monopolist will be preaching sermons on the Brotherhood of Man; he will be dispensing advice on “Christian Duty” in the Sunday magazines; he will give utterance to numerous more or less moral maxims for the guidance of the young. And meantime, all around, people will be dying for want of some of the air that he will have bottled up in his gasometers. And when you are all dragging out a miserable existence, gasping for breath or dying for want of air, if one of your number suggests smashing a hole in the side of one of the gasometers, you will all fall upon him in the name of law and order, and after doing your best to tear him limb from limb, you’ll drag him, covered with blood, in triumph to the nearest Police Station and deliver him up to “justice” in the hope of being given a few half-pounds of air for your trouble.”

The root cause of illegal mining, is an unjust economic and social system, that keeps the majority of our people, who are mostly black, out of mainstream economic activity, ownership and control.  We are a constitutional democracy with a government that believes in upholding the rule of law and can never be seen to be condoning acts of criminality, but we have to have a more nuanced analysis of the reasons why people risk their lives, mining in dangerous areas in order to just eke out a decent living for themselves.

We live in one of the most unequal countries in the world, where the majority of the wealth and resources are owned and controlled by an elite few, along mostly racial lines because of our divided past. Until we deal with these root causes that cause the majority of our people to be kept out of economic ownership, to be casualised as labourers and to suffer the daily indignity of living in subhuman conditions, problems such as illegal mining will continue to plague our country. We need to form a social pact with all the different stakeholders in society, in order to bring down monopoly capital and give our people greater access to wealth creation, asset-building and economic ownership opportunities. We need sustainable, equitable, job creating, inclusive economic growth in order to solve many of the social ills we are plagued with as a country.

Government established the Gauteng Crime Intelligence Committee on Illegal Mining in order to stop illegal operations. The aim is to destroy the syndicates who are behind these illegal operations as well as the markets they’re supplying.  Government is actively looking to support small-scale mining and the huge potential it possesses to absorb greater numbers of people in productive employment. This will have the effect of breaking down monopoly capital’s control on our natural resources and giving our people a better chance of earning a livelihood in a decent, dignified manner.

To quote from Robert Tressell’s Ragged Trousered Philanthropists again, “Every man who is not helping to bring about a better state of affairs for the future is helping to perpetuate the present misery, and is therefore the enemy of his own children. There is no such thing as being neutral: we must either help or hinder.” It is in all in our hands to build a just, equitable, inclusive economy and society that will have opportunity for all of its people and not just an elite few. That is the only long term solution to putting an end to unwanted ills like illegal mining.

Lebogang Maile is the MEC of Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development in Gauteng.

Jobs for our people

Recently released economic data paints a very gloomy picture of the current economic climate that we are operating within as we pursue our programme of radical transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation of Gauteng city region’s economy.

Statistics South Africa recently released unemployment stats, which show that unemployment went up to a thirteen year high of 27.7% in the first quarter of 2017. Although the economy created jobs in this period (538 000), this was still not enough to absorb a work force that is growing at roughly 1.7% a year with more people actively looking for jobs than before.

According to the same stats, only 43% of adults are employed and within the 15-24 age group, only 13 out of 100 young people are employed, with millions of youth neither studying nor working. In fact, the unemployment rate amongst youth stood at 54.3% in the first quarter of 2017 and with this being the 41st anniversary of our celebration of the heroic youth of 1976 we dare not rest on our laurels in our quest to end the social and economic marginalisation of young people.

As highlighted by Premier David Makhura in his state of the province address earlier this year our provincial economy has recorded the largest net gain in new jobs since the 2008 global crisis, with 700 000 new jobs created between 2010 and 2016. In fact, since we came into office as the fifth administration in 2014 bi-annual employment has reached 317 000, breaking the ceiling of 300 000. This was achieved despite massive job losses in both the manufacturing and mining sectors and the fact that Gauteng has the largest number of migrants coming into the province looking for economic opportunities each year, so it is in no way a small feat. So since we came into office, we have made significant strides in creating jobs, though we do acknowledge that it is still not yet sufficient to turn the unemployment tide.

Having conducted intensive research and consulted broadly with diverse economic stakeholders, the provincial government of Gauteng has come up with the Gauteng Economic Development Plan (GEDP), which focuses on sector and firm level interventions in order to unlock employment and empowerment opportunities for our people. The GEDP is geared towards growing our economy in a holistic, inclusive, equitable manner and relies on transformative partnerships between government and the private sector in the identified strategic sectors to grow our economy, create jobs and empower historically disadvantaged individuals.

Some of the partnerships that have been established with the private sector as part of the GEDP in order to create jobs include the following:

  • A partnership with the capital equipment and machinery sector through the South African Capital Equipment Export Council which will create a minimum of 5000 jobs over the next three years.
  • A partnership with Microsoft which will give 1 million young people the opportunity to be trained in digital skills over the next two years, a critical intervention as we head towards the fourth industrial revolution.
  • A partnership with the Business Process Outsourcing sector which will facilitate the creation of 20 000 digital jobs for young people over the next three years.
  • Our partnership with the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator which will reach 500 000 young people by 2019.

In addition to that, as part of our bias towards historically disadvantaged and marginalised individuals and groups in our society, we have taken a policy decision as the Gauteng provincial government that 50% of all people employed in our infrastructure projects should be youth, a momentous decision given the massive infrastructure roll out planned for Gauteng until 2019. As a reference point to show how significantly this will affect youth unemployment, we know that between 2013 and 2016 92 000 direct jobs were added to the Gauteng economy just through our infrastructure spend.

So despite the challenges caused by the ratings downgrade and sluggish global and domestic economic growth since the start of our administration in 2014, we have made significant strides in fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality, in transforming our economy, in fighting youth marginalisation and unemployment and giving our people the opportunity to create a better life for themselves. We are however aware that more indeed needs to be done and are confident that through working together, we can move Gauteng city region forward. This is the least that we can do to honour the youth of 1976 and build the kind of equitable, just society that they gave their lives for.

 

Lebogang Maile MPL, is the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development.

A better life for all, not some

By: Lebogang Maile

Following the recent controversy over Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga’s trip to Taiwan, which goes against the country’s international relations policy and position, the Democratic Alliance claimed that the trip was undertaken to attract investment and that the ANC was being critical because it doesn’t value job creating-investment in South Africa and in fact doesn’t care about the millions of jobless people in the country. This is not only disingenuous coming from the Democratic Alliance, but shows how little they understand and sympathise with the plight of our people.

In a speech he gave at the Wits Business School on the 19th of July 2016, IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton highlighted that,” South Africa is grappling with growth that is too slow to raise average living standards, which is deeply problematic when one-third of the working population is effectively excluded from the economy. So far, there has been only limited progress on reforms to remedy that situation. What does this mean? The prospect of falling per capita income and increases in a jobless rate already among the world’s highest. That would spell tough times ahead, particularly given the difficulties facing the global economy. I know this is a blunt message. But anyone who admires South Africa’s many accomplishments has to worry about what it will mean if these economic problems are not tackled soon. Of course, some of these issues —particularly exclusion and income inequality — are legacies of the apartheid era. But with the passage of time, un-addressed issues can become obstacles.” The fundamental question that we need to ask ourselves when we look at the South African economy is: how can the distribution of wealth and control over the economy be changed in material terms so that it can be inclusive and create opportunity for all and not just an elite few. This is something that the DA has never been concerned about, despite its claims to care about unemployment within our country.

The truth of the matter is that we need to build an economy that is not just growing and creating jobs, but is also inclusive, giving opportunities to previously advantaged individuals and communities who make up the majority of the unemployed. Growth that is not inclusive is as undesirable as no growth at all. The DA, with its fundamentalist emphasis on free market economics doesn’t seem to have grasped the concept that markets, in and of themselves, are intrinsically skewed to historic privilege. The way markets are structured tends to lend itself to skewed wealth distribution which creates growing inequality. This is exacerbated by the oligopolistic nature of our economy, which has developed huge barriers to entry for new/smaller players that protect the interests of big conglomerates and locks out newcomers who are often the drivers of the innovation and enterprise that is required to grow an economy and create meaningful, dignified employment.

As the ANC government, our focus is on finding ways to intervene decisively so that we can reshape market outcomes to give opportunities to those who are disadvantaged and create an inclusive, growing, dynamic, modern economy that has mainstreamed and actualised the massive potential of the township economy.

It is for this reason, that as the Gauteng government we have put in place an Economic Plan with a focus on eleven specific sectors. This plan demonstrates that through these sectors and sub-sectors and decisive interventions across the five development corridors within the province, Gauteng can be radically transformed into a competitive, sustainable and inclusive economy. Our implementation of the Economic Plan is anchored by these economic sectors with emphasis on interventions along the following cross-cutting themes, in order to facilitate the achievement of our agenda to Transform, Modernise and Re-industrialise Gauteng:

  • Africa regional integration and development
  • Black ownership and control of the economy
  • Township economy revitalisation
  • Local production and beneficiation
  • Public/private procurement
  • Research and innovation
  • Skills development
  • Infrastructure investment to stimulate the economy
  • A focus on the green and blue economies

Through our interventions, we want to remove barriers to entry for SMMEs and township enterprises, create market access for SMMEs and township enterprises through collaborative partnerships with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders as well as boosting intra-Africa trade and investment, remove red tape and reduce the cost of doing business in order to stimulate investment, promote localisation of production (revive the manufacturing sector), give SMMEs and township enterprises greater access to finance and create infrastructure that will encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation and economic growth that will be inclusive and equitable.

As Professor Simon Roberts, Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development at UJ has previously stated, “meaningful access to economic opportunities through reducing barriers to entry and proactively supporting (small, new) rivals can play an important part in changing the structure of the economy.” This is what we are about as the ANC government as we pursue our objective of creating a better life for all our people, not just some who are in the minority. This is what the DA clearly does not and will never fathom with their adherence to laissez faire, neo-liberal economics.

Lebogang Maile is the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development

Pitching Booster Boot Camp Awards

Gauteng Enterprise Propeller hosted the Pitching Booster Boot Camp targeting SMMEs in the creative industry, on 30 – 31 January 2019 at The Reef Hotel in Johannesburg. The two days’ Pitching Booster was attended by entrepreneurs such as visual artists, musicians, scriptwriters, authors, actors, DJs, producers and preforming artists.

The programme director Ms. Khanyisa Booi opened by introducing the guest speakers who gave words of encouragement to the entrepreneurs. To prepare for the pitching session, the entrepreneurs received coaching for two hours which provided a brief on what their presentation should be based on. The session further assisted them in identifying focus areas, by using techniques such as the SWOT analysis and business canvas model which is pivotal for any business. Thereafter, each participant was afforded an opportunity for three minutes to pitch their business idea. On the second day, only 30 candidates were shortlisted to present their ideas for the second time, this was followed by questions from the panel of judges.

The Acting CEO Mrs. Leah Manenzhe highlighted the need for more collaborations across sectors. She said it is important to build proper relationships amongst business people.

The winners for the Creative Art Pitching Boosters are:

  • Yolanda Mogatusi (1000 hugs Films);
  • Sinethemba dywili (Mvula ye Afrika);
  • Sakhile Cebekulu (Sash Studios),
  • Zilungile Kanye (Epilogue);
  • Beso Langa (Kgantsho Studios);
  • Boitumelo Modise (Melanated Entertainment);
  • Gcina Madida (Go Gina);
  • Karabo Thahane (Mkhonto Media);
  • Bendu Yende (HashtagCaptured) and;
  • Mpho Ntlatleng (OL Afrika Media Foundation).

The ten entrepreneurs won an equal share of R400 000.00, each participant took home R40 000.00. The prize money is to help them purchase equipment that are needed in their business.