Democratic Alliance speech by
Janet Semple MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development
The Democratic Alliance shares your “dream of a provincial economy where the needs, aspirations and energies of the majority of the people constitute the creative force for change and transformative growth”.
Where we differ is how to reach that dream. Every year we hear the same old bright ideas rehashed like the Township Stock Exchange, the revitalization of the township economies, the development of cooperatives, and the use of public procurement budgets to stimulate local production. Exciting the first time but now starting to wear a bit thin.
The Township Stock Exchange has been in the pipeline for several years now but it just never seems to get off the ground. The partnership with the private sector is desirable but maybe the Premier would like to enlighten us as to who the private partners are and what exactly is the hold up?
The revitalization of the township economy is essential but when one tries to drill down as to where the revitalization is taking place, and who and how many people are actually benefitting from “the use from public procurement budgets to stimulate local production” it is difficult to get concrete facts. Once again perhaps the Premier would enlighten us.
The Premier rightly highlights the need to develop cooperatives. The Democratic Alliance believes cooperatives have an important role to play in ensuring the economy of Gauteng grows. It is therefore alarming that the Department of Economic Development only managed to provide financial support to 15 cooperatives out of a target of 70 in its Enterprise Development programme by the third quarter of this financial year.
We support your call for clean governance, building a culture of integrity and fighting corruption. You talked about the “many forensic investigations (are) instituted by departments, but there are no consequences on the part of wrong doers’.
I hope whoever handles your Twitter account made you aware of the tweet in which you were mentioned about the permanent appointment of the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller CEO, a post that has been vacant for some years now?
Amongst other things, it is alleged that a recent forensic investigation finding on matters of maladministration, abuse of power and corruption against the Acting CEO have been swept under the carpet. The Acting CEO is one of the few shortlisted candidates who appeared before the selection panel yesterday.
If the Hon Premier really has the interests of the public at heart and is serious about fighting corruption these allegations need to be investigated and the forensic audit findings made public.
The SOPA was almost silent on agriculture in Gauteng, and yet, president Ramaphosa reiterated that we are again going to implement the NDP.
Chapter 6 of this plan directs the creation of 969 500 jobs in Agriculture by 2030. This includes primary jobs for 83 000 subsistence farmers, 240 000 small scale farmers, 10 000 jobs in labour extensive field crops and 40 000 jobs in labour extensive livestock production.
The plan was clearly written before the advent of digital disruption, and the GDARD will have to take note of the new world of agtech and how it will disrupt the entire farm to fork chain.
The industry is recruiting technical managers, agricultural economists, schedulers, biotechnologists, research scientists and software engineers, not manual labourers.
Venture capitalists in the Ag-tech space have realised that feeding the world is not the only or even the best reason to invest in agriculture- there is a real potential to make a decent living so long as the free market mechanism is not sabotaged by collusion and corruption and as long as private property rights- including land, assets and intellectual property, is protected.
Without protected individual property rights, there will be no rehabilitation of any dreams, wounded or otherwise.
Passing mention was also made of the risks of climate change and the need to secure the supply of both water and energy. Gauteng as the industrial hub of the country also has the worst air and water pollution. Serious intervention needs to be made here Premier before it is too late.
We are aware of the new coal mines that have opened in the Bronkhorstspruit area with the necessary EIAs. The polluted water enters directly into the Bronkhorstpruit Dam which affects some of the best agricultural land in the Province. This would also have a detrimental effect on jobs in the area