Sunday, 12 November 2017

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Member statement in Parliament - 100th anniversary of the Russian Revoluion

Today is the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, the day the Bolsheviks took over Russia and ushered in 72 years of rule which included the formation and death of the Soviet Union. I was chatting to James Lorimer on the plane to Cape Town this morning and he suggested that I make statement to the House, which is reproduced below (thanks to him for most of the wording).

What I do not mention in the statement is that around 1967, when I was 7 years old, Alexander Kerensky paid a visit to our family home in Rugby, UK. He was very old by then (he died in New York in 1970) but I vaguely remember him, I think accompanied by members of his family whom my parents had got to know as they lived nearby.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

ANC presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma joins the PC on Small Business Development

Today, ANC presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma sat for first time as a Member of the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development.

Her appointment was published in the Announcements Tablings and Committee Parliamentary papers on Friday which elicited some media coverage but little commentary as to why she had chosen or had been deployed to this committee.

She arrived shortly before the meeting opened along with another new member, Mervyn Dirks, also from the ANC (he replaced the late Timothy Khoza who was tragically killed in a car accident while on an Education Committee oversight visit in Paarl in August).

Monday, 2 October 2017

Opinion piece in Sowetan newspaper 5th September - how to reduce unemployment through growth of small businesses

South Africa’s unemployment rate has hit a new high, with 36,4% of working age people out of work or no longer looking for a job.

In the current environment of flat or no growth, with large firms slashing jobs and small firms just hanging on, any talk of new jobs may seem wishful thinking. A negative attitude towards the future is self-fulfilling, so we must craft a future of positive outcomes based on realistic scenarios.

In the NDP’s scenario, 90% of the 11 million new jobs we need by 2030 will come from small business. The NDP is already 5 years old, written at a time when SA’s economy was growing at around 3%. Now growth is less than 1% and a further ratings downgrade in December (or earlier) would undoubtedly keep it there, or worse. So is it realistic to expect small businesses to hire people in such depressed conditions?

Friday, 15 September 2017

Media Statement: Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) loses R20 million due to maladministration

Media Statement
by Toby Chance MP - DA Shadow Minister of Business Development

Date: 14 September 2017
Release: Immediate
Type: Press Statement

Yesterday, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), released the findings of a forensic investigation into a R20 million loan deal it made to a failed chicken project in Mpumalanga. The findings were an indictment on SEFA’s corporate governance practices as it found instances of embezzlement, fraud, theft and poor internal controls.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Interview on PowerFM - Department of Small Business Development fails to deliver on its mandate

Last night I did a recorded interview with PowerFM's Power Zone which was aired on the show between 12 and 3 am this morning. They had picked up my opinion piece which appeared in yesterday's Sunday Independent where I wrote about the Portfolio Committee's oversight visits to Mpumalanga, KZN and the Free State, and my view that the Department of Small Business Development is failing to deliver on its mandate. In fact this is not just my view: the entire Committee agrees.

On Wednesday we have Sefa coming to the Committee to answer charges of corruption and maladministration of its loan book, 47% of which was impaired in the 2016/17 financial year.

You can listen to the podcast of the interview here.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Motion to debate the DSBDs inability to fulfil its mandate



  National Assembly
                                              Notice of Motion

Internal Ref Number:
045
-
2017
Date:
07.09.2017
Member:
Toby Chance     
Motion:


I hereby move on behalf of the Democratic Alliance that at its next sitting this house debates the Department of Small Business Development’s inability to fulfill its mandate and its continued relevance as a vehicle for developing and implementing policies that create jobs.

Declaration in the House on the Portfolio Committee's reports on oversight visits, September 7th 2017

Speaker, a veil of tears has descended on this committee after it experienced profound sadness, frustration and disappointment on its oversight visits to KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

What we found left Members dispirited at government’s incapacity to do even the most basic things required to improve the lives of our people.

In KZN, the Department has supported a number of primary agricultural co-ops for over two years through its Cooperative Incentive Scheme. A technical partner provides training in business management and farming skills, access to markets through negotiated off-take agreements, and new technologies to improve productivity and vegetable quality.

Statement in the House on the DSBD's presentation to the Standing Committee on Appropriations

On Tuesday I read the following statement in the House. Minister Zulu was not there to respond and although Deputy Minister November was present she gave no response.

On Friday the Department of Small Business Development presented its 2016/17 fourth quarter report to the Standing Committee on Appropriations.

Under close questioning by members of the Committee, the Director General and her officials revealed the full extent of the under-performance that has characterised this Department since its formation over three years ago.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Community meeting and oversight visits on public safety

On Wednesday last week our constituency, Soweto West, organised a community meeting in Moletsane focusing on policing and public safety, followed by visits to two of the police stations in our neighbourhood.

We had some very constructive conversations, and were able to gather together our top trio of public representatives in this portfolio - Zak Mbhele MP, Shadow Minister of Police in Parliament; Kate Lorimer MPL, Shadow MEC of Safety & Security in the Gauteng Legislature; and Cllr Michael Sun, Mayoral Committee Member for Public Safety in the City of Joburg.



Sunday, 2 July 2017

Launch of the Pinsent Masons Winds of Change Youth Development Programme

Yesterday I attended the launch of the Winds of Change Development Programme at Tshedimoshe Primary School in Mofolo, Soweto. This is an initiative of international law firm Pinsent Masons who opened an office in Johannesburg in February.

I will describe how this came about and why I was there below, but first a bit of info about the programme.

To quote from the flier handed out to parents attending the launch:

"A Pinsent Masons Responsible Business Programme in Soweto, South Africa, working with the Sir Ramabitsa Saturday School Programme, Gauteng Cricket Board, Soweto Cricket Oval and the Soweto/Enos Mafokate Equestrian Centre.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Media advisory: DA to commemorate Soweto uprising at June 16th Memorial Acre in Jabavu

16 June: DA to commemorate the 1976 Soweto Uprising at the Memorial Acre

by DA Media -
Date: 14 June 2017
Release: Immediate
Type: Media Advisory

On Friday, 16 June 2017, DA Gauteng Leader, John Moodey MPL, will host a commemorative gathering at the June 16 Memorial Acre in Soweto, along with the Naledi Heritage Forum and 1976 Veterans.
The event will be joined by the Johannesburg Regional Chairperson, Khume Ramulifho MPL and, Toby Chance MP, Soweto West Constituency Head.
The DA Youth arranged this event as we appreciate the sacrifice that young people made in 1976. We acknowledge their great contribution towards equality in this country and we will pay homage to those who stood up against the Apartheid regime.
Event details:
 Date: 16 June 2017
Time: 09h30
Venue: June 16 Memorial Acre, Mphuthi Street, Soweto
GPS Coordinates: 26°14'42.4"S 27°52'20.6"E
Media Enquiries
DA Media
Anneke Scheepers
DA Gauteng Communications Manager
079 511 7501

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Motion without notice commemorating Naledi High School, June 8th 1976


         NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

                                        MOTION WITHOUT NOTICE        
 _________________________________________________________________________

Internal Ref Number:
028
-
2017
Date:
13.06.2017
Subject:
Naledi High School       

I hereby move, on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, that this House notes:

1.         That on 8th June, 1976, at Naledi High School in Soweto, police vehicles were set alight after their attempt to arrest a learner, Enos Ngutshane, who had written to the Department of Education in protest against the Bantu Education Act.

2.         Recalls that South African Student Movement (SASM) leaders went underground to arrange, with surrounding schools, a meeting on 13th June where the June 16th march was planned.

3.         Acknowledges that on that fateful day, students began marching from Naledi High, through Mofolo, Tladi, Jabulani and other suburbs of Soweto, arriving in Orlando West where the shooting of Hector Peterson made international headlines.

4.         And requests that this House gives due recognition to the people and community of Naledi, arguably the birthplace of the 1976 student revolt which unleashed an unstoppable movement culminating in our first free democratic elections 18 years later.


T Chance MP

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Commemoration of events on June 8th 1976 in Naledi, Soweto

Our Gauteng office issued this advisory today. I was unable to attend due to the budget votes in Parliament, so our constituency was represented by Chair Motau Maloma.

DA to commemorate events leading up to June 16 uprising
by DA Media -
 
Date: 08 June 2017
Release: Immediate
Type: Media Advisory
 
Today, 8 June 2017, DA Gauteng Leader, John Moodey MPL, will commemorate the forgotten history of events leading up to the June 16 uprising that took place in Soweto in 1976.
People in the Naledi community feel that the ANC has forgotten the historic contribution that began at Naledi High School. The DA will host the Naledi Heritage Forum who will share this untold story of the historic student uprising at an open town hall meeting.
The DA Gauteng Leader will be joined by the DA Chairperson of the Johannesburg Region, Khume Ramulifho MPL, and Motau Maloma, Chairperson of the Soweto West Constituency.
The event will take place as follows:
Date: 8 June 2017
Time: 16h15
Venue: Naledi Community Hall, corner Bona and Legwale Street, Naledi.


Media Enquiries
 
 
 
DA Media
 
Anneke Scheepers
DA Gauteng Communications Manager
079 511 7501
 

DA votes against the Department of Small Business Development budget

Appropriations Bill budget votes
Small Business Development
Vote 31
8th June 2017
Toby Chance


Thank you madam Speaker.

This department has had no impact on the factors underpinning growth in the economy, essential to the creation, survival and growth of small businesses. It is silent on essential issues of regulatory, tax and labour reform.

With the country now in recession, opportunities for small businesses to grow are even more remote.

Its programmes and agencies are invisible to more than 97% of businesses in South Africa.

Minister Zulu missed an opportunity to be visible and relevant to these businesses by failing to support the DA’s Red Tape Impact Assessment Bill.

Her department’s narrow focus and continued funding of programmes widely acknowledged to be failing cannot be justified.

While small business development should be a government priority, in the hands of this minister and her directionless department it is all talk, excuses and no action.

Instead of being the champion of small business across government, Minister Zulu puts more energy into defending an indefensible president.

The DA cannot support this budget.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Press statement on prayer service in Naledi, Soweto

DA to attend a prayer service after horrific gender violence incidents
by Toby Chance MP - DA Soweto West Constituency Head
 
Date: 25 May 2017
Release: Immediate
Type: Press Statement
 
The DA will today attend a prayer service for peace which will be held in the wake of the ongoing violence against women. The meeting will be held in honour of Lerato Moloi, Bongeka Phungula and Popi Qwabe who were brutally murdered earlier this month.
The DA strongly condemns the ongoing scourge of violence against women and we urge local police officials to be visible, proactive and swift in dealing with this deadly violence against women. I will attend the prayer session along with DA activists as well as the MMC for Community Development in the City of Johannesburg, Nonhlanhla Sifumba.

Friday, 19 May 2017

House Chair rules my term "The Invisible Minister Zulu" un-Parliamentary - watch on YouTube video

During yesterday's debate the house Chair, Yvonne Nkwenkwezi Phosa (wife of wannabe-President Mathews Phosa) ruled my term "the Invisible Minister Zulu" un-Parliamentary.

Our whips, John Steenhuisen and Ian Ollis, objected to this outrageous ruling and for a few minutes the House descended into a state of mild chaos as the Chair tried to regain control of proceedings.

While this was going on I conceived a plan to wiggle out of the mess while poking fun at Minister Zulu. Judging by her glum expression and response in wrapping up the debate, she was not amused.

In fact, she declared she was very visible because she was black! It is unfortunate that Minister Zulu should resort to racial stereotyping to try to make a point. She has being doing this more and more lately - she used it when defending her hiring of Dr Thami Mazwai as her special advisor whom I had accused of a conflict of interest in also being a supplier of services to the Department. She asked why the DA only accused blacks of being corrupt!

The ANC has got to get over its obsession with race. Truth is, it's hit rock bottom and can't think of any other way of attacking us.

You can watch it on the video here - 38:45 is where I am interrupted.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Small Business Development budget speech in Parliament

Delivered in the Old Assembly Chamber,  Parliament, 14h00, 18th May 2017

The Invisible Minister Zulu

House Chair

Before I continue let me congratulate and welcome our new Deputy Minister, Honourable November, to her position. We wish you well in your important endeavours. And a hearty welcome to all the guests upstairs in the gallery.

Chair, it is now abundantly clear, three years after the Department of Small Business Development was formed, that it is invisible to 97% of businesses in South Africa.

Let me repeat that. The Department of Small Business Development is invisible to 97% of businesses in South Africa.

How can I so confidently make that assertion?

Well, consider these facts.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Opinion piece in the 2016 GEM report on South Africa

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor has just published its 2016 report on South Africa. I was one of four guest contributors of an opinion piece carried in the report, which I reproduce below.

There is a growing voice of disagreement on the methodology, findings and policy implications of the GEM report versus the Global Entrepreneurship Index. The former focuses on the Total Entrepreneurial Activity Rate which equates a high number with positive economic activity while the latter prefers to look at the relationship between fast-growing businesses and a country's prosperity.

This is an important discussion which raises very big issues around priorities for boosting economic growth. I will be examining this in the months to come.

South Africa is under-achieving but can do better if we follow lessons from pockets of success.

Among South Africa’s great paradoxes is that we have by far the most advanced economy on the continent of Africa yet one of the lowest rates of entrepreneurial activity. We have been bumping along the bottom of country rankings ever since GEM started in 2001. Hence the question posed in this report: can the small business sector in South Africa be saved?

In short, yes, with the right policies and the right interventions by government and the private sector, then South Africa’s small business sector can be the catalyst for growth in our country.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Letter to Business Day on the pitfalls of micro loans

Today's Business Day carries my letter about the pitfalls of micro loans for small businesses. You can read the letter here or the full version I sent them below.

Sir

Mark Barnes must realise he is taking Postbank into treacherous waters (Postbank's fresh loan plan aims to boost access, BDay 28 April). While access to credit for informal sector businesses, in the form of micro loans, is touted as promoting financial inclusion, it has more often than not led to over-indebtedness and financial distress among borrowers and boom-bust times for credit providers. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Britain back in election mode

Diana and I often pick momentous days in British history to travel in or out of the country.

On 7th July 2005 I got off the plane and soon heard reports of the terrible bombings of the London underground and buses that happened that very morning. On 8th April 2013 we turned on the radio as we drove from my parents' home in North Wales to Heathrow and sat riveted for the next five hours as reports of Mrs Thatcher's death came through, along with in-depth interviews with significant politicians of her era including Michael Heseltine (who triggered her resignation as Prime Minister in 1990) and David Owen (Foreign Secretary in the Labour government she defeated in 1979 who went on to co-found the SDP which re-shaped the centre left of British politics).

Today, once again driving from North Wales to Heathrow, we turned on the 10:30 news to hear that Theresa May has called a general election for 8th June, just 7 weeks away. The special edition of The World at One on BBC Radio 4 carried interviews with leading political commentators and politicians offering their views on this shock announcement.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Statement on the crisis in South Africa by Revd Dr Jeremy Jacobs, Rector, St George's Anglican Church, Parktown, Johannnesburg

I don't normally post other people's writing on this blog but sometimes exceptions are necessary. This is one such exception. 

As Jeremy says below, our church in Parktown has hosted the ANC veterans 101 Group meetings over recent months. But they have been dismissively ignored by the ANC. President Zuma and his handlers have lost all respect for men and women who were once the heart of the ANC, as they have for all other democratic forces in South Africa.

Today's marches are a sign of the DA and civil society's determination to change that, and force the ANC to take action to remove Zuma. This is the beginning of a protest movement that is looking more and more like its predecessors in the 1980s aimed at removing the National Party from government. The climax to this movement will be the 2019 elections when the DA aims to be part of a new government, ushering in a renewed sense of hope for our citizens. We have a bumpy two years ahead.

Mcebisi Jonas resigns a day after addressing the AHI SME Indaba

This morning we heard the news that former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas has resigned as an MP. Yesterday I attended the AHI SME Indaba in Centurion where Mr Jonas gave possibly his last public address as an MP. It was striking in its frankness about the dangers facing SA today.

I sat Tweeting like mad as a substitute for making notes, but the gist of what he said confirms what we all suspected about the state of capture South Africa finds itself in.

In South Africa, "politics and economics are inextricably linked" he said. Economist Dawie Roodt's comments after his speech highlighted Jonas' emphasis on politics rather than a focus on economic policies, the latter being what you would expect from a former deputy minister of finance.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Launch of the Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust

This afternoon, the Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust launched at the Sandwell Council offices in Smethwick, near Birmingham.

The Trust is the brainchild of local businessman Mark Davies, who quickly assembled a first class team of professional advisers and a board representing diverse interests with a strong commitment to rejuvenating this historic site. I was honoured to be invited to act as Patron of the Trust, being the great great great nephew of founder Robert Lucas Chance.

The Trust's website can be viewed here.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Reply to question on issuing of business visas reveals SA is not a business-friendly or Start-Up Nation

Below is the reply I received to a written question put to Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, which reveals just how anti-business South Africa has become.

Business Day picked up the reply and published a story on it yesterday - see it here.

Apart from the fact that no visas were issued for any type of business, the Minister was unable (or chose not) to answer the question about the sum of investment made into the country resulting from the issuing of visas in the past.

I am going to be pursuing this issue as it pertains directly to South Africa's relative attractiveness as an investment destination. 

Yet again we are presented with concrete evidence that our government speaks with forked tongues - last week opening a one-stop-shop investment hub, this week showing its true colours in its anti-business stance by refusing new and existing businesses to bring in vital skills the country so desperately needs.


Sunday, 26 March 2017

Press statement: Department of Small Business Development to underspend by between R96 and R125 million

Date: 24 March 2017
Release: Immediate
Type: Press Statement

In the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development this week, it was revealed that the Department of Small Business Development is projected to underspend on its 2016/2017 budget by between R96 and R125 million due to incapacity, poor programme implementation and problems with transferring functions from the Department of Trade and Industry.

This projected underspend represents a staggering 7% to 9% of its budget. Recent statements by Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu, claiming that she needs more money to fulfil her mandate are absurd if she cannot even spend what has already been budgeted.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Global Entrepreneurship Congress cavalcade rolls into town

Last week the Global Entrepreneurship Congress cavalcade descended on South Africa, making a two-city stop in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Billed as the biggest entrepreneurship get-together of its kind, it reportedly attracted 7 000 delegates from 160 countries. Judging by the variety of attires I brushed past in the Sandton Convention Centre over the two days I attended that was hardly an exaggeration.

GEC is one of several initiatives and programmes of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, including Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Global Entrepreneurship Index, the Global Business Angels Network and Start Up Nations, “aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem”.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the keynote address, while Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba welcomed us all to the host city, giving a taster of how he intends transforming Johannesburg into an entrepreneurial powerhouse.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Launch of the Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust film and workshop

For those of my readers living in the UK, and have an interest in the firm of Chance Brothers, founded by my great great great uncle Robert Lucas Chance, there is still time for you to book tickets to attend the launch of the Chance Glassworks Heritage Trust promotional film and workshop at Sandwell Council offices on March 28th.

See this newsletter put out by History West Midlands magazine for more details.

For the past two years, the Trust has been painstakingly working on its grand project, which is to restore, preserve and redevelop what remains of the Chance glassworks, which date to before 1824, when Robert Lucas Chance purchased the site. The Trust approached me to be its Patron, which I was honoured to accept. On most of my several visits to the UK since then I have paid a visit either to the site, or met with Mark Davies, the Chairman, and other members of the Board to check on progress and contribute whatever I could to the success of the project.

This is an incredibly exciting project, and received a major boost last month when it got a financial injection from Sandwell Council to pay for the completion of the business plan and fundraising activity. The Trust aims to raise in the region of £25 million (around R400 million) to fulfil its vision, which includes the construction of a 30 metre high lighthouse topped with a working Chance lens, which will have the distinction of being the furthest lighthouse from the sea anywhere in the world!

I will post a link to the video after 28th March so readers can find out more about the Trust and its grand vision.

Monday, 13 March 2017

SME Fund slowly starts coming to life

On Friday I had my first meeting with Quinton Dicks, newly appointed CEO of the SME Fund established as part of the CEOs Initiative. This initiative came into being early last year, shortly after Pravin Gordhan's reappointment as Finance Minister and was an attempt by business and government to avert the ratings downgrade which was hanging over the country like the proverbial axe.

Discovery's Adrian Gore and Bidvest's Brian Joffe were put in charge of the entrepreneur fund workstream, charged with raising R1,5 billion to be invested in high-growth potential SMEs. In May my colleagues Geordin Hill-Lewis (Trade and Industry shadow minister) and Michael Cardo (Economic Development shadow minister) met with Gore, Joffe and Lisa Klein, the fund's interim CEO, to find out more about it and get a progress report. In preparation for the meeting I sent them a briefing note which I reproduce below.

In the intervening months the Fund has created a website and appointed Dicks as CEO. Importantly, it has not received the R1,5 billion matching funding promised by government when the fund was announced. There was no mention of it in the budget tabled last month, and I have sent a written question to Minister Gordhan asking why not.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Mail & Guardian article on Department of Small Business Development underspending

Today's Mail & Guardian published an article on page 17 claiming the Department of Small Business Development will underspend its 2016/17 budget by R140 million, more than 10% of its budget.


M&G journalist Dineo Bendile called me on Tuesday requesting comments on the story, which I willingly provided. The article quotes a short segment of what I sent her and there is an unexplained discrepancy between the actual and claimed year-to-date under-spending. She did not reveal her source for the under-spending claim, only referring to them as "Treasury officials".

Minister Zulu wants her budget substantially increased, so it seems these un-named Treasury officials are waging a behind-the-scenes battle with her based on the Department's inability to spend what it's already been allocated. The issue is not just the spending, but how it's spent. Does it produce results?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Letter in today's Business Day: Spazas have buying power

Sir

Matthew Govender's highlighting of the need to tackle the skills deficit in township economies coincides with the publication of recent research showing that township economies are mostly disconnected from supply chains in the formal sector (Township economy plan needs to tackle skills deficit, 2 March).

Results of a survey by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory reveal that 8% of respondents own a business, of which 35% are in the formal sector and 65% are in the informal sector. A map unsurprisingly shows informal businesses to be primarily township-based while formal businesses are in established industrial and commercial hubs such as those north of Johannesburg's CBD.

Relevant to Mr Govender's point is that informal, township businesses tend to buy locally whereas formal township businesses buy from outside suppliers. This illustrates that most township businesses are not taking advantage of opportunities to expand by buying from suppliers who themselves are connected to formal and often shorter supply chains, leading to better quality products, improved logistics and lower prices. 

Both Mr Govender and the GCRO have missed a key dynamic in township economies, which is that foreign-owned spaza shops have been able to reduce their prices and so out-compete locally owned informal spazas by amassing greater purchasing power through bulk buying networks which source from formal sector suppliers. 

Much could come from the form of training Mr Govender calls for focusing on the township retail sector, which in combination has enormous buying power, if they could work together. Moves are afoot to address this key factor in revitalising the biggest sector in the township economy. Expect to see real transformation sooner rather than later.

Toby Chance
DA Shadow Minister Small Business Development

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Department of Small Business Development potentially wastes R123 million on failed coops

This morning the Department of Small Business Development Director General, Professor Edith Vries, and members of her staff were due to present a briefing on the developmental status of all 400 cooperatives funded by the DSBD since its inception.

But when asked to begin, the DG requested that the Committee allow her to postpone the briefing until such time as she felt the Department was ready for it.

This led to three hours of questions, discussion and partial responses from the DG and Chief Director of Cooperatives, Jeffrey Ndumo, the longest period so far given to consideration of a non-briefing in Committee!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Notice of motion in the National Assembly

This afternoon I read a notice of motion in the House:


                                                      NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
NOTICE OF MOTION

_________________________________________________________________________


Internal Ref Number:
011
-
2017
Date:
28.02.2017
Member:
Toby Chance
Motion:

I hereby move on behalf of the Democratic Alliance that at its next sitting this House debates why, when 90% of jobs are expected to be created by small and medium enterprises, the Department of Small Business Development receives only 0,1% of government spending.

What happens next is that every week the programming committee decide on which party's motion will be debated. When the DA's turn comes, in rotation, our leadership decide on which motion to choose. If mine is chosen we will have 70-80 minutes to debate the motion and typically the proposer of the motion opens or closes the debate. 

Watch this space!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Speaking to Redi Tlhabi and Kieno Kammies on radio on the same day - a first!

Today I drove from Cape Town to Johannesburg and had the unusual experience of phoning in to Cape Talk and Talk Radio 702 at either ends of my journey and going on air on both stations!

I tuned in as Kieno was speaking to Keet van Zyl from Knife Capital, one of SA's leading venture capital and business accelerator firms. They were discussing the budget and why the Department of Small Business Development did not seem to be getting any traction from its R3,9 billion budget. I pointed out to Kieno that this was its three year budget but did not have time to mention it represents only 0,1% of total government spending, which says a lot about government's commitment - or lack of - to small businesses.

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.

Sir

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.