Tough choices at Economic Development

2016-04-29 11:34
Mike Mabuyakhulu

Mike Mabuyakhulu (City Press)

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Pietermaritzburg - Deciding on which entities the Department of ­Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs would phase out or make it was not an easy decision.

MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, responding to the budget allocated to his department on Thursday, said they needed to “balance our fiscal position”.

The department has more than 10 entities and the biggest chunk of its budget goes to these entities.

Just about R 1,741 billion of the R 2,702 billion that was allocated to the department, will go to these entities.

Treasury has told the department to phase out some entities that do not perform service delivery-related duties, as part of austerity measures.

Mabuyakhulu said they would look at how they can spare those entities that the department uses “to sharpen our roles and capabilities in the economy”.

DA MPL Ann McDonnell had questioned why it was taking the department so long to rationalise the entities.

“The time for talking is past — fiscal constraints make this urgent. So, how can we save money?” she asked.

Mabuyakhulu said an ad hoc committee of the provincial executive council was already looking at scenarios and operational models that could be used.

While the department boasted about having created an estimated 11 038 jobs last year, opposition parties raised concerns on the sustainability of the jobs.

NFP MPL Happy Khuzwayo said only temporary, short-term jobs are being offered by extended Public Works programmes.

EFF MPL Vusi Khoza said “sustainable, secure and long-term jobs” would be in line with economic freedom “which our people are still yearning for”.

The department also announced it would be cutting back on sponsoring events.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu yesterday defended the support given to a telenovela produced by President Jacob Zuma’s daughter Gugu Zuma-Ncube.

Uzalo, which airs on SABC1, received R5 million from the eThekwini Municipality.

Responding to NFP MPL Happy Khuzwayo, who had questioned the sponsorship, Mabuyakhulu said there was nothing untoward with the sponsorship of the show.

Khuzwayo said she was concerned at the ­manner in which government had given financial support to people who are already established and have political connections.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  economic development

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