40 000 job opportunities lost as MEC Tau stalls on job creation

40 000 job opportunities have been lost because the Gauteng Department of Economic Development, under the leadership of MEC Parks Tau, has missed this critical job creation target for the 2021/2022 financial year.

It is deeply worrying that the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED) is dragging its feet when it comes to the empowerment of businesses through the Global Business Services programme for the 2021/2022 financial year. This information was revealed in the fourth quarterly report of the department for the previous financial year.

During the third quarter, the department claimed that it could not train and create any jobs as part of this programme, because it was unable to find a suitable space for the training to take place.

However, the DA has been reliably informed that the venue to be used was Nasrec which already has all the infrastructure needed to ensure that the training can take place.

In addition, a target of creating 10 000 jobs in the townships through the Global Business Service programme was also not met.

This is concerning as it means that the department is only embarking on a tick box exercise and is not committed to empowering our entrepreneurs and unemployed youth to become key players in the Information Technology and Communication (ICT) sector.

Programmes like this play a crucial role in ensuring that small businesses that would otherwise not be able to access the Gauteng Broadband Network can do so effectively, giving them access to the digital economy.

This is critical now more than ever, given the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on how businesses are now run.

The DA will be tabling questions to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau, to ascertain exactly how these targets will be met in the 2022/2023 financial year.

Currently, there are at least 2.7 million unemployed people in the province. This programme will play a pivotal role in making a dent in this number, especially amongst our unemployed youth. Furthermore, this will also go a long way to curbing crime in our communities as many unemployed people fall prey to criminal activities in a bid to put food on the table.

Accessing the digital economy, particularly for our youth, is important especially if businesses which operate in the township want to expand their client base which will lead to more jobs being created.

More hardship for township businesses as MEC Tau fails to procure their goods and services

Gauteng township businesses are struggling to make ends meet and are on the brink of collapse, yet the Gauteng Department of Economic Development is failing to support them through the procurement of their goods and services. The township economy is supposed to be the lifeblood of this department, but it only achieved 1.3% of the 10% target for procurement of goods and services from township businesses across the province.

Failure by the Department of Economic Development to spend money on procuring goods and services from the township businesses means more hardship for the poor and small businesses in the townships.

This information was revealed in the department’s third quarter report for the 2021/22 financial year, and paints a very dire picture of exactly how our township businesses are benefitting from accessing and successfully providing goods and services to the Gauteng Provincial Government.

This is deeply concerning considering that the Gauteng township economy has suffered a double whammy of the hard lockdown restrictions which prevented them from selling a lot of their goods and services as well as the July violent looting and unrest.

This is just another blight on this department that has also missed its job creation targets for the third quarter.

It is high time that this department has measures and systems in place to monitor whether or not the subcontracting will be able to meet this very important goal of empowering and growing our township economy.

Our township businesses continue to suffer, and many will have to close their doors if the government does not start to properly invest in procuring goods and services from them.

The DA will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) demanding answers from the Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau, on why his department has failed to meet its targets of procuring goods and services from the township businesses.

We will also be engaging with businesses and entrepreneurs in our townships to ascertain how they contribute to the Gauteng economy and the challenges that they are faced with. The DA believes that to grow our township economy, the Gauteng Government and in particular the Department of Economic Development must create a conducive environment for our township businesses to grow. This can be done if the department is leading by example in procuring township goods and services and cutting red tape.

Save Jobs: DA requests MEC Tau to grant 3 months grace period to liquor industry

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau asking him to grant liquor outlets a grace period and payment holiday for three months for those outlets that have their licences up for renewal.

Small businesses, including liquor outlets, bore the brunt of the vandalism and looting that erupted in the province last week.

In addition to this devastation, the alcohol industry has already suffered major losses due to the Covid-19 restrictions imposed on the sector.

The Covid-19 Lockdown regulations have brought countless liquor outlets to their knees, forcing many to retrench staff. This has resulted in an additional loss of jobs – something our economy cannot afford.

Granting a grace period on the renewal of liquor licences as well as a payment holiday will help the industry to get back on its feet once the ban on the sale of alcohol has been lifted.

Given the extraordinary times that we are living in, extraordinary measures are needed to help get our economy in the province back on track.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC to put measures in place that assist not only the liquor industry, but all businesses that have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A grace period such as this could very well be the measure that ends up saving the jobs of those who are in absolute fear of their livelihood as a result from lockdown restrictions, and the rampant looting and destruction of the province.

The time is now to save livelihoods.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

DA welcomes commitment by MEC Tau that R200 million of GEP funds will be used to assist small businesses affected by looting and vandalism

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the commitment made by the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau, that the bulk of the R250 million that the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) has been sitting on since last year, will be used to assist small businesses that were affected by looting and vandalism last week.   

In a social media post on Twitter in response to our call for GEP funds to be used to assist small businesses impacted by the looting, the MEC indicated that R200 million will be used to assist small businesses affected by the unrest.   

According to the MEC, the details of exactly how to access these funds will be finalised by the end of July.   

The DA is calling on the MEC to ensure that these funds are made accessible to small businesses as soon as practically possible after 31 July 2021.   

In addition, we urge the MEC to ensure that the eligibility criteria include saving as many jobs as possible and getting the Gauteng economy going.   

Our economy has already been brought to its knees by the harsh Covid-19 regulations which have led to a number of small businesses having to close shop or retrench staff as they were unable to afford to keep their full workforce employed.   

The announcement by the Economic Development MEC is a step in the right direction and will go a long way to ensuring that our small businesses are able to get back on their feet again, salvage some jobs and get the wheels of the provincial economy turning again.   

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit check.da.org.za to check your voter registration status.

MEC Tau fails to take responsibility for the GEP’s inefficiencies

It is extremely concerning to note that the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau is now shifting the blame to the Auditor General’s (AG) office for the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) not submitting its financial statements on time for the 2019/20 financial year.

According to a reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, MEC Tau claims that the GEP’s financials were due to be audited in September 2020, but the AG had requested more time to complete the audit due to their internal quality assurance processes and challenges related to Covid-19. The audit was only completed in February this year.

It is unfortunate that the MEC chooses to not own up to the inefficiencies that clearly exist within the GEP, which is what led to the entity not submitting its financial statements timeously.

During a committee meeting, the AG indicated that the GEP had submitted its financial statements without evidence. It is clear that the new CEO has a hard task ahead of him in ensuring that the rot in this entity is cleaned up and that the GEP starts delivering on its core mandate to assist small businesses in the province.

Only one Special Economic Zone fully operational in Gauteng, while unemployment continues to rise

It is extremely concerning to note that there is only one fully operational Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gauteng.  

This information was revealed in a reply to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau. The fully operational SEZ is ORITA, located in Ekurhuleni.  

The fact that there is only one fully operational SEZ is surprising, considering that Premier David Makhura spent a considerable amount of time during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) to highlight the importance of SEZs in promoting economic growth in the province.  

Furthermore, the MEC states that the Jewellery Hub which is the second phase of this SEZ in Ekurhuleni will become operational in the 2022/23 financial year.  

The Vaal SEZ only exists on paper as part of a Master Plan while there is no geographical location for this zone.   

SEZs play an important role in encouraging the private sector to invest in the economy and will also play an important role in ensuring that skills transfer can take place in the community where it is operational. This is key to ensuring that the current unemployment rate in the province decreases.  

In addition, these zones provide a space for small businesses to operate in a space that is able to cater to their operational needs. It is high time that the ANC-led Gauteng government ensures that these spaces in the province become operational and are maintained regularly.  

I will be engaging with the MEC For Economic Development to ascertain what plans are in place to ensure that all SEZs and Industrial Hubs are operational in the province and what time frames are in place for this to happen.  


Appointment of Former Joburg Mayor Parks Tau as Economic Development MEC concerning

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng notes the latest reshuffle of Premier David Makhura’s executive after the position of MEC of Health was left vacant, when the Premier fired Bandile Masuku, the MEC for Health.

However, it is concerning to note that the Premier has appointed the Former Joburg Mayor, Parks Tau as the new MEC for Economic Development. Tau who is yet to be sworn in as a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature has been implicated in alleged corruption involving Regiments Capital.

In 2012 media reports emerged indicating that there may have been a conflict of interest when Tau’s wife, Philisiwe Twala-Tau received a stake in a Capitec Bank black economic empowerment deal in 2006 worth around R10 million, led by Regiments Capital. At the time, Tau was the MMC responsible for treasury.

It is concerning to note that Tau has been appointed to the executive, given that Premier Makhura had removed the former MEC for Health from that position because of his involvement in a controversial PPE tender that was awarded by the Department of Health.

The DA will be keeping a close eye on the new MEC for Economic Development to ensure that there this department is run in a transparent manner.

The current MEC for Social Development, Nomathemba Mokgethi has been appointed as the new MEC for Health.

The new MEC for Health needs to hit the ground running to confront the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and fix the deep-rooted rot in the Gauteng Health Department.


ANC disrupts Council to keep Parks Tau and Geoff Makhubo out of the Ethics Committee

The ANC in Johannesburg has collapsed Council today, at the point at which it was ready to vote on a motion to refer former MMC of Finance, Cllr Geoff Makhubo, and former Mayor, Parks Tau, to the Ethics Committee.

The motion, arising from the City’s forensic work and an article by amaBhungane, allege that Regiments Capital, the sinking fund managers appointed by the City, sought to buy influence in the ANC.

This was ultimately achieved by allegedly sponsoring ANC Regional Conferences and benefitting the wives of former Mayor Tau and former MMC Makhubo in deals with millions.

Further to this, Cllr Makhubo’s consulting firm, Mololwani Consulting, scored a contract with Regiments in which his contractual responsibilities with Regiments Capital included maintaining strategic relationships with the City of Johannesburg. For this, Cllr Makhubo allegedly benefitted to the tune of at least R30 million.

Cllr Makhubo’s contractual responsibilities with Regiments Capital included maintaining strategic relationships with the City of Johannesburg. Cllr Makhubo safeguarded Regiments Capital’s interests and derived the benefits, in part, while he served as the MMC of Finance for the City.

The reports noted that former Mayor Tau actively intervened in a tender process in which Regiments Capital had been disqualified. A new tender process later appoint them later.

The behaviour of the ANC in Council today comes as no surprise. The ANC has demonstrated their commitment to paying lip service to fighting corruption while doing everything in their power to protect those implicated in it. Numerous points of orders were raised to disrupt Council and when that didn’t work, they elected to howl and sing over the Acting Speaker.

This serves to demonstrate that the ANC’s renewal or New Dawn is a cheap facade designed to disguise itself to the South African public from what it truly is. The ANC’s efforts to prevent this motion from going through, are reminiscent of former President Jacob Zuma being protected by ANC MP and Ministers who now claim to be part of the New Dawn.

The multi-party government will not rest until former Mayor Tau and former MMC of Finance Makhubo face the Ethics Committee for what they are alleged to have done.

With 4000 cases under investigation in the City, involving a staggering R24 billion, it was clear that the former leadership of the City could not claim not to have not known. As it turns out they knew, because they were allegedly leading from the front in the outright shameless looting of our City.

Parks Tau no longer eligible for SALGA Presidency

Former Johannesburg Mayor, Parks Tau, must recuse himself from the leadership position he currently holds at the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), as he is no longer entitled to this position.

The City of Johannesburg under the DA-led coalition has discontinued its membership with SALGA due to its ongoing dereliction of duties towards the City.

Despite requesting assistance from the organization on numerous issues since assuming office in 2016, the new administration has been sidelined by SALGA.

It is evident that the organization, like most in our country has been captured by the ANC and is used exclusively to its benefit. Its agenda is to exert power and an ANC agenda over municipalities where the voters have thrown the ANC out of power.

With the cancellation of our SALGA membership, Parks Tau, who is a councilor in Johannesburg is no longer entitled to his SALGA membership as the city in which he serves is no longer a member.

Clause 8.7 of the SALGA Constitution states that “A member who fails to pay levies shall remain a member with lesser rights, surrender voting rights and the right to have any of its councillors in executive positions of SALGA, until all due membership levies have been paid”.

On the basis of the City’s non-payment to SALGA, and the above provision of the SALGA Constitution, there is no way in which Tau’s continued leadership of SALGA is legitimate. Councillors who serve on the executive of SALGA must carry a mandate from the municipalities in which they serve as Councillors. Tau has no such mandate from the City of Johannesburg.

The DA will write the CoGTA Minister to intervene and give full clarity on this matter. It cannot be that SALGA, which already suffers from ANC capture, is led by an illegitimate president.

ANC Joburg – Parks Tau’s cries for attention

A corrupt and idealess ANC has yet again exposed itself not only as a failed government but a failed opposition party as well. This follows yet another attempt by the ANC’s former Mayor, Cllr Parks Tau, to revive his political career from the ashes.

It is deeply saddening that the ANC in Johannesburg, without irony, would hold a press conference to purportedly evaluate the performance of the current administration, when the ANC ran the City in an environment of chaos, disorder, poor service delivery and corruption.

It’s truly ironic that the ANC in Joburg, the party that presided over endemic corruption, would brazenly evaluate the performance of a new government that is now forced to rectifying their failures.

When the new administration came into office, a number of corruption cases were uncovered, which the previous ANC administration had refused to act on. Currently, there are 1920 cases under investigation within the City.

With respect to the City’s current financial performance, for the year 2016/17, the unaudited numbers show a significant reduction in the variance between the budgeted and the actual revenue collected compared to 2015/16.

This is an improvement from a R3.4 billion negative variance in the 2015/16 financial year to an improved R2.7 billion negative variance for the 2016/17 financial year. In March and June 2017, the revenue that was collected exceeded R3 billion. Never before has the City of Johannesburg collected revenue exceeding R3 billion in a period of two months. This improved revenue collection means improved service delivery.

Total revenue collection in the 2015/16 financial year was R34.9 billion as opposed to an improved collection of R35.2 billion in the 2016/17 financial year. The City also assesses its revenue collection performance through financial ratios. Our forecasted debt to revenue ratio is 40.7%, well within the City’s target. Our main liquidity ratio measure, cost coverage ratio, is also projected to be a healthy 36 days, well above the National Treasury benchmark.

Ultimately, measurement of the City’s performance with respect to service delivery should be left to the residents themselves and not a political party or its leader, who seem to be struggling with maintaining their relevance.

The City’s recent customer satisfaction survey – run by an independent service provider – indicated that Johannesburg residents are seeing the change which has been brought by the DA-led coalition government.

These are survey results which the previous administration kept under lock and key due to the fact that they indicated downward trends in performance. The last survey of this kind was conducted in 2015.

The results of the current survey, conducted in April 2017 under the DA-led administration, demonstrates a rise in the City’s overall performance, from 59% in 2015 to 61% in 2017. This increase effectively turns around a downward trend in the City dating back to 2009.

The results are also confirmed by a recent 6-monthly Government Performance Barometer undertaken by Ipsos, which found that residents’ overall perceptions of how well the City was performing went from 39% in July 2016 to 53% in July 2017.

Under the same survey, overall perceptions of how well the City was handling the delivery of basic services, such and water and electricity, increased from 51 % in July of 2016 to 59% in July of this year.

In terms of the City’s survey, the basic household services indicator achieved a 4% point increase from 59% in 2015 to 63% in 2017. This indicator has also been on a downward trend since 2010 and takes place against the context of aged and crumbling electrical and water infrastructure.

Improving the lives of residents is precisely what the DA-led administration delivered as recently as this morning with the launch of the electrification of Klipspruit, a mere two kilometers from the famous Kliptown, the birthplace of the Freedom Charter.

This was a community which had been forgotten and left to fend for itself by previous ANC-led administrations.

Since the DA-led coalition’s time in government, we have:

  • Given residents the dignity of owning a home by delivering 2,714 title deeds;
  • advanced the electrification of a total of 1,000 homes in Meriteng and Fine Town – more communities previously forgotten by past administrations;
  • allocated almost R163 million to provide electricity and water connections to poor residents in informal settlements throughout the city through the City’s new budget;
  • invested R482 million over the next 3 years to clean informal communities;
  • invested R40 million to enhance sanitation in the City’s informal settlements through the City’s new budget;
  • increased access to healthcare for poor communities by extending clinic operating hours at Princess, Freedom Park, Hikensile, Randburg, Zandspruit, and the Albert Street clinics;
  • To the R170 billion infrastructure backlog created by the previous administration, we have –
    1. repaired 117,483 potholes across the City, which ANC administrations had allowed to degrade to dangerous levels.
    2. Allocated R5.2 billion to upgrading our existing infrastructure. A further R3.3 billion is provided for the development of new infrastructure. R4.3 billion has also been allocated to progressively address the much-needed repairs and maintenance of our existing infrastructure system.
  • We have also allocated R574 million in capital expenditure and R115 million of operational expenditure for the upgrading of 10 informal settlements throughout the City in the 2017/18 financial year. A total of 51 informal settlements will be upgraded over the next three years. By comparison, the previous ANC administration set itself a target of upgrading a mere two informal settlements in the 2016/17 financial year.

This is the change we are bringing to the people of this City and that is the true reflection of the DA – led Coalition Government’s performance.

The ANC failed the people of Johannesburg during their time in government.

If they truly care for the residents of this City, they would take responsibility for the mess they created in their time in office rather than hosting ill-conceived press briefings.