Focus on reviving small towns

2009-06-18 00:00

FINANCE MEC Ina Cronje issued a stern warning to civil servants who own companies that benefit from government business.

During her maiden budget speech yesterday, she stressed that the provincial Treasury will investigate the extent to which companies owned by government officials are involved in tenders within the different departments.

“I have no fear in indicating that those who are involved in corrupt activities in the province will be found and arrested.”

Cronje also announced that the government plans to spend about R185 million over the next three years to revive the economic health of small towns suffering from urban decay.

“The programme will finance all qualifying infrastructure projects that have the potential of stimulating economic activities in those towns that, due to whatever reasons, have been under economic decline. Since most of these towns are in rural areas, this allocation is our response to the president’s call for government to take rural development seriously in the coming years,” she explained.

CEO of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, Andrew Layman, welcomed the announcement.

He said the growth of KZN’s economy should not be totally reliant on its major cities.

“They [small towns] must be encouraged to find the resources for growth within their own business and social communities and not pin their hopes on unrealistic foreign investment. …” he added. kavith@witness.co.za

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