The former MEC of the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (DID), Faith Mazibuko, promised the Soweto Business Forum the opportunity to renovate and rehabilitate clinics in Soweto and at the Chris Hani Baragwaneth Hospital.
Now, almost seven years later, many small business have had to close up shop and many have lost their jobs due to the department’s failure to pay for services rendered.
This was revealed at the internal hearing of the Gauteng Legislature Petitions Committee, whereby the Soweto Business Forum representatives submitted their grievances on the non-payment for the work done at these facilities in 2010.
The DID’s response to the petitioner’s statements are contradictory. The department has acknowledged that work had been done although some projects have not taken place or are not completed. Yet, the department says no order was issued for the work done and therefore payments cannot be made to the Soweto Business Forum as it will be regarded as irregular expenditure.
However, it makes absolutely no sense to not pay for work that was done and commissioned by the department, as confirmed in the hearing.
Small businesses are the backbone of our ailing economy and non-payments from government departments cripple their ability to create jobs and to ensure that the entire community benefits.
I will submit questions to the DID MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, to ascertain exactly how many projects were completed, how much money is owed to the business forum and what the department intends to do with regards to honouring their commitments.
Faith Mazibuko is now the Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Recreation and Culture.