Departmental bungling could shut down SMMEs

Janet Semple MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development:

At least five SMMEs participating in the Mohlakeng Hub on the West Rand face closure if the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) fails to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Randfontein Local Municipality to inject R6 million in to this project over the next three years.


GEP has until 31 March 2015 to sign this agreement.


Coupled with this cash injection, the Gauteng Department of Economic Development and its entity, GEP, have agreed to foot the bill for participants’ municipal bills, but cannot do so until the MoU is signed.


The aim of the hub is to incubate SMMEs in the following sectors:

  • Carpentry;
  • Furniture manufacturing;
  • Welding and steel works;
  • Embroidery and clothing manufacturing.


At a presentation to the Gauteng Economic Development Portfolio, it was revealed that despite service provider WESTCOL facilitating training, the hub is currently not functional.


What is of even more concern is that there are no partnerships in place with experienced incubators or hubs to increase the knowledge capacity of participants.


The hub also requires an intensive incubation programme to assist participants in growing their businesses and understanding the market environment.


Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, in his State of the Province Address emphasised the importance of SMME stimulation and growth to aid in the reindustrialisation of the province.


However, Mohlakeng is one of many examples where the administration jeopardises the future of small and medium sized business by not creating an environment conducive to sustainable market access or competitiveness.


Rather, for many it is like starting on the back foot.


Gauteng Economic Development MEC, Lebogang Maile, must ensure that this MOU is signed before five more SMMEs in the province fail as a result of bureaucratic bungling.


The DA will monitor this situation closely to ensure the sustainability of this project.