Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Budget speech a damp squib for SMEs

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan resisted calls from Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu for more money in his budget speech delivered in the National Assembly today.

What some media outlets described as a "windfall" budget of R3,9 billion over three years is in fact a near exact repeat of what he announced in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October last year.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Africa Teen Geeks hosts a preview screening of Hidden Figures movie

This afternoon I was privileged to attend a special screening of the movie Hidden Figures, organised by Lindiwe Matlali, founder of NGO Africa Teen Geeks. I tracked her down after reading a City Press article about the work she is doing using the principles of knitting to teach 5 year olds basic programming skills.

Today's screening was for 180 girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and shown simultaneously in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, sponsored by the film distributor Times Media Films, City Press and Standard Bank.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Unpublished letter to Mail & Guardian - Zulu's department should not get more money until it proves it can use if effectively

I sent this letter to Mail & Guardian on Monday and was disappointed to see they did not publish it in today's edition.

Dear Sir

Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu laments her department is under-funded (Zulu laments inadequate budget, M&G 3 Feb). 

It is true the Department receives a very small proportion of total government spending. The 2016/17 national expenditure ceiling was R1,15 trillion of which R1,3 billion went to the Department - a paltry 0,1%. This is roughly 114 times less than the Department of Social Development receives, mainly to pay out monthly grants to 17 million recipients. 

Letter in Business Day: Zulu should gun for unity

Today's Business Day published an edited version of this letter I sent them after listening, appalled, to Lindiwe Zulu's speech in Parliament on Wednesday.


In her speech during the SONA debate on Wednesday Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu said government would use its annual R500 billion procurement expenditure like the AK 47s used by Operation Vula soldiers in the armed struggle. 

As a former MK operative, Minister Zulu knows the destructive power of the AK 47 killing machine. To compare its procurement budget to this weapon is to imply that somewhere out there is an enemy to be destroyed in the march to economic liberation. 

The sub-text is clear: the enemy is so-called "white monopoly capital".

Thursday, 9 February 2017

EU Ambassador and delegation visit the Soweto Equestrian Centre

The following news story appeared in today's edition of the Jabavu Urban News, 9th February 2017. 

The Soweto Equestrian Centre in Rockville hosted a delegation of senior diplomats from the European Union on Friday 3rd February, led by Ambassador Marcus Cornaro. 

The Equestrian Centre was established in 2007 by the legendary South African show jumper Mr Enos Mafokate. Mr Mafokate believed it was important to bring horse riding to the township, so that it was no longer seen as a sport for the privileged few, mainly white riders.

Mr Mafokate's business partner, Sthembiso Mhlongo, arranged the EU delegation's visit after meeting the Ambassador at a function recently. The purpose of the visit was the aquaint the diplomats with an aspect of Soweto which is less well known than the traditional tourism destinations of Vilakazi St and the Hector Pieterson Museum.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Business Warm-Up, Soweto Theatre, Jabulani - 26th January

It's been nearly two months since my last blog post. You could be forgiven for thinking I've been doing nothing, rather just lounging around over an extended holiday period. Nothing of the sort!

Apart from a two week break in Plettenberg Bay over Christmas and new year, I've been working on some long term issues and projects, and initiating some new ones.

It's amazing how our newly acquired status as the governing party in Joburg has transformed the image of the DA amongst the people I am speaking to. We can now DO something about all the ills that we see around us, not just talk about them and blame the ANC.

So whether it's issues in my constituency around corruption, service delivery, jobs and housing, or portfolio-related matters concerning small businesses, there is a renewed sense that under a DA government people's lives can change for the better.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Letter to the DG Public Service Commission re Dr Mazwai conflict of interest

29th November 2016 
Public Service Commission
Dr Dovhani Mamphiswana

RE: Request to investigate conflict of interest

Dear Dr Mamphiswana

In replies to our DA Parliamentary Questions, the Minister of Small Business, Lindiwe Zulu, revealed that she allowed her department to pay R22 million to Mtiya Dynamics, a company in which her department advisor, Dr Thami Mazwai, owns 40% of the shares.