Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Unity Fellowship Church still at loggerheads with the City of Joburg

This afternoon I got a call from a member of the Unity Fellowship Church in Chiawelo, Soweto. He informed me that the church was conducting a sit-in at the Rea Vaya bus station next to the City of Joburg municipal offices in Braamfontein. They had just been muscled off the public square next to the Mayor's parlour, where they had requested a meeting with the Mayor to demand an answer to their petition lodged in June calling on the City to address the church's grievances.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Probing Violence against Foreign Nationals fails to adopt its report

The Parliamentary Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Probing Violence against Foreign Nationals sat yesterday at 5pm, supposedly for the last time. Except that of the twenty Members of the Committee, only six showed up so it was unable to form the quorum necessary to adopt its report. 

My DA colleague Sej Motau MP and I were the only National Assembly Members to attend the meeting.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Reflections on the LeaderEx / SiMODiSA Start-up Scale-Up Summit

The Sandton Convention Centre buzzed with excitement and expectation on Thursday as members of South Africa's entrepreneurial ecosystem - an informal club of growing confidence and distinction - gathered for the first combined LeaderEx / SiMODiSA Start-Up Scale-Up summit.

Aimed at achieving scale and critical mass, the merging of the two events provided participants with a smorgasbord of choice, with over 200 exhibitors, a programme of 40 intense masterclasses, and opportunities for one-on-one sessions with some of South Africa's top business coaches.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Letter to Business Day about the National Gazelles programme.

Today's Business Day publishes my letter drawing readers' attention to the fact that Thami Mazwai failed to disclose in his article of 9th September that the Department of Small Business Development hired his company, Mtiya Dynamics, to formulate the National Gazelles programme he writes so approvingly about.
I have sent a written question  to Minister Zulu to explain how the Department procured the services of Mtiya Dynamics.

Read my earlier blog post here for a longer version of the letter.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

National Gazelles programme aims too low

Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu’s launch of the National Gazelles programme was a damp squib, attracting hardly any media coverage or commentary. That Dr Thami Mazwai used his Business Day column (9th September) to highlight it is not surprising: the Department hired him to formulate it, which he does not disclose in his column.

The DA has asked the Minister to explain how her department procured the programme from Mtiya Dynamics, headed by ANC-cheerleader Mazwai, and Martin Feinstein. The Department does not appear to have followed any tender process.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Motion without Notice congratulating the creators of the Philippi Village business incubator

Today I moved a Motion without Notice in the House of Assembly recognising the opening of the Philippi Village, which I attended yesterday. It was a wonderful occasion, with music and dance to entertain us and some bearably short but good speeches from all the organisations involved in creating this amazing space. Helen Zille was the keynote speaker and said that she remembered the cement factory as a political incubator, not the business incubator that it has become. An apposite metaphor.

As with all Motions without Notice moved in the House for the past few weeks, the EFF objected, so it would not be written into the Parliamentary record. These spoiling tactics of the EFF are getting on everyone's nerves and will come back to haunt them.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Is Sefa turning the corner?

As I sat in Parliament on Tuesday listening to Minster of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu attempting to chastise the DA for our supposed ‘anti-Africa’ motion to impeach Jacob Zuma (in fact, it was a ‘pro respecting the law and our constitution’ motion), I could not help but wonder why she spends her precious time on a matter so irrelevant to her core mission: helping small businesses thrive and create the jobs South Africa so desperately needs

While her speech-writers were wondering how to wriggle out of the plain fact that her government had blatantly ignored a court order by allowing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to escape from the AU summit in Sandton in June, I was in a constructive and in-depth meeting with the CEO and senior management of the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) at their offices in Centurion. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Steel tariff hurts downstream small businesses

Amidst all the loud and self-congratulatory hoorays and back-slapping between government, unions and the steel manufacturers, something is being missed: the 10% tariff on steel imports is never going to solve the structural problems of the metals and engineering sector of which steel-making is just a small part.