It is shocking that the Gauteng Department of Economic Development does not know exactly how many Township Enterprise Hubs there are in the province.
This was revealed to me by the MEC for Economic Development Winifred Mosupyoe in response to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
According to the MEC, the department is in the process of determining the number of Township Enterprise Hubs in Gauteng.
Prioritising Township Enterprise Hubs is an important pillar of the department as this will allow township economies to flourish.
The fact that the department does not have a detailed list of Township Enterprise Hubs shows that the ANC-led government cares little about growing township economies.
Furthermore, the department does not have any idea how many jobs have been created by the Township Enterprise Hubs.
Again, some of these Township Enterprise Hubs are in a deplorable state and are situated in old and dilapidated buildings.
These conditions do not attract the much needed investors who are key to growing the township economy.
It is high-time that the department prioritises Township Enterprise Hubs as they play a crucial role in promoting job creation, skills development and boosting the township economy.
The DA is calling on the MEC to speed up the process of determining the exact number of Township Enterprise Hubs and give us the final audit report on this matter.
Gauteng Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Paul Mashatile, has revealed in a written reply to a DA question that four young men in Gauteng have died during this past winter cultural initiation season.
The MEC noted in his reply that 27 illegal initiation schools were operating in summer and 40 schools were operating in winter this year. Despite his awareness of schools operating initiation schools illegally, MEC Mashatile appears to have no qualms about the fact that there have been no arrests for the death nor for the illegal school operations in the province.
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MEC Mashatile’s Provincial Initiation Monitoring Team has only managed to close these schools and transferred initiates to registered schools across the province.
This monitoring team has no teeth despite working with the provincial Department of Community Safety and the South African Police Service as schools are only monitored for compliance on a weekly basis. We believe that this should be done more regularly and if possible daily.
It is most disturbing, that despite the numerous “interventions” and legal frameworks MEC Mashatile cited in his earlier reply to the DA this year, young men continue to die and their families and loved ones have no closure.
This now brings the total number of deaths in Gauteng to 19 since 2012.
Any number of deaths is one too many, especially when these tragedies could have been prevented.
The MEC is unable to deliver an initiation season in the province with zero deaths and zero illegal schools.
Our young men deserve the best support from government at this culturally sacred and honourable time in their lives.
Therefore, at the soonest available opportunity, the DA will submit a Motion in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature in terms of Rule 121(1) with regards to implementing preventative measures in order stop the unnecessary deaths of young initiates.