By Janet Semple MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development:
The Gauteng Department of Economic Development (DED) has not managed to financially assist a single small business across 11 crucial sectors during the first quarter of the 2015/16 financial year.
As a key driver of Premier David Makhura’s vision to radically transform, modernise and re-industrialise Gauteng, DED is at the coal face of change.
The department had indicated that it would provide financial support to 35 SMMEs in the first quarter, while a further 195 would be aided over the remaining three quarters.
Given its current lack of progress, it is unlikely this target will be met.
Gauteng is home to the most unemployed and out-of-education citizens in the country, with labour force statistics showing that those not in employment and not in education in the province currently sits at a concerning rate of 23.6%.
SMMEs are a launch pad from which many individuals create successful, profitable large scale businesses. Denying them opportunities to build a better life not only stymies economic growth possibilities – but it also halts job creation.
Earlier last week, Premier Makhura challenged entrepreneurs to become industrialists and captains of industry, however, when departments such as DED cannot fulfil their mandate, the premier’s vision for a transformed Gauteng will remain a distant dream – as well as the hopes of those looking for employment through these SMMEs.