Friday, 29 January 2016

Press statement: Minister Zulu must account for R689 000 splurged on UK-France trip

Democratic Alliance press statement by
Toby Chance MP
DA Shadow Minister of Small Business Development

Minister Zulu must account for R689 000 splurged on UK-France trip

29 January 2016
Release: immediate

The Department of Small Business Development could have supplied a 7 000W generator to nearly 70 small businesses with the money Minister Lindiwe Zulu spent on a business trip to the UK and France in October last year. 

In reply to a parliamentary question posed by DA MP Toby Chance, Zulu revealed that she spent R689 000 on the trip, which should have consisted of various meetings with clear objectives and goals, but seems to have been a number of talk shops amounting to nothing concrete. 

Thursday, 28 January 2016

DA Joburg Mayoral Candidate Herman Mashaba and I to share a platform in Soweto

On Saturday 6th February Herman Mashaba and I are hosting a public meeting at the Jabulani Technical High School in Soweto.

We will be presenting the DA's small business policy with a special focus on Johannesburg in the lead up to the local government elections.

I first met Herman in 2005 when I was a member of the team at Adele Lucas Promotions running the Soweto Festival. This was the re-incarnation of the Soweto Homemakers Festival, the inspiration of Adele Lucas and the Soweto Chamber of Commerce, which ran from 1983 - 85, the first of its kind in a black township.

Herman brought Black Like Me to the Festival as one of our exhibitors and supported the event every year until I left the company in 2014 and became a DA MP.

In 2011 Herman was the keynote speaker at the opening function of the Soweto Festival Expo which was the biggest to date, attracting over 550 exhibitors of which 400 were SMMEs from all over Gauteng.

Minister Zulu splurges R689 000 on UK - France trip

An answer to a Parliamentary question I put to Minister Lindiwe Zulu reveals that she spent nearly R700 000 on a trip to the UK and France in October.

I fail to understand how such an enormous sum was spent unless she stayed in the best hotels, travelled first class and took a whole entourage with her.

I will be following up with another question to get to the bottom of how the money was spent.

This wasteful and fruitless expenditure is against the background of Minister Zulu and her Department crying about lack of budget for their programmes to boost small business development. 

Her response (carried in full below) shows nothing concrete emerged from her trip, which was more a series of talk shops than meetings with a clear set our outcomes. 

Financial Mail - Small Business: Request for a re-design

Today's edition of Financial Mail has an article by Stephen Timm on the strategy review recently conducted on the Department of Small Business Development.

"A TROUBLED picture of the small business development department has been painted by an auditor's review, which calls for the axing or relocation of a number of the department’s support programmes.

The department has faced criticism that nearly two years after its inception it has little to show for itself.

Parliament’s small business development committee last year ordered the department to carry out a review of its programmes, following concern over its failure to develop a proper strategic plan."

The author quotes me quite extensively towards the end of the article. It's a fair assessment of the review, in my opinion, which is by leaps and bounds a more incisive analysis of the department's strategy and programmes than its own internal assessments.

Now we wait for the department's and Minister Zulu's response. At our first Portfolio Committee meeting on Feb 10th I will be urging some swift action as the department cannot afford more months of drift and non-performance.

You can read the whole article here.

The Parliamentary Monitoring Group has a very comprehensive account of the Portfolio Committee meeting where the review was presented, here.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Back to school: DA donates educational toys at a Soweto school

Today our media office sent out a media advisory about our visit to Emseni primary school in Soweto, to hand over toys and other educational materials to a Pre-grade R class.

Journalists arrived just as we were confronted by a member of the school governing body who made a fuss about us appearing on the school grounds wearing our DA-branded clothing. We pointed out that the school principal had sent out a letter, on the school's letterhead, inviting parents to attend the handover. I also mentioned that I had made numerous visits to Soweto schools wearing DA clothes and not once were objections raised.

We compromised and removed our DA clothing for the official handover, and narrowly avoided a protest by the parents who objected to the SGB member's high-handed attitude!

The kids and parents packed into the classroom and received us with clapping and songs. The SGB chairperson graciously introduced us and a few speeches followed, including one from Steven Swiel whose efforts, and those of his parents Greg and Nicky, were entirely responsible for the funds raised to buy the toys and materials - three cheers to them!

Hlox and Pumla from our ward 130 branch put the event together (they have kids in another class at the school), along with Lebogang and other activists. Our councillor Timothy Radebe left the parents with the DA ringing in their ears.

Well done to them all for their initiative.

Doing business in South Africa - a roundtable discussion at the US consulate

On Monday I attended a roundtable discussion on the topic “Doing business in South Africa: challenges and opportunities”, hosted by the US Consulate in Sandton. The occasion was organised to coincide with a visit by a group of 45 MBA students from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ninety minutes of presentations and discussions left those present under no illusions about the tough journey we have travelled since 1994, and the mammoth task before us to reverse the worrying signs of decay and despondency now engulfing our nation.

The panellists’ three presentations could not have been more different, and taken together gave the bald facts, the historical context and some scenarios for our political economy which offer the doomsayers and optimists much to ponder on.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Speech by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane on race and identity

Democratic Alliance speech by
Mmusi Maimane MP
Leader of the Democratic Alliance

Let’s find each other again
19 January 2015
Release: immediate

Note to Editors: This speech was delivered by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane MP, at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg today.

Ladies and gentlemen

Fellow South Africans 



I stand before you as a child of Soweto, a proudly Black South African, a son of the African soil. 

I stand proud to live in a country that is no longer the skunk of the world, proud that out of the ashes of Apartheid a new nation could rise. 

I am a product of the Group Areas Act, the Population Registration Act and the 1913 Land Act. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

DA selects Herman Mashaba as Joburg Mayoral candidate

I don't normally put someone else's press statement on my blog but this announcement is a potential game-changer so I am making an exception.

I have known Herman Mashaba for ten years in business and more recently politics. I know him to be a forthright, no-nonsense individual who will add a new dimension to SA politics, now that he has thrown his hat into the ring. 

For him to put a life-long career in business on hold and dedicate himself to the DA winning, then running, the City of Joburg, is a measure of the man and I applaud him for his self-sacrifice and patriotism.

Below is his press statement  in full:

Democratic Alliance press statement by
Herman Mashaba
DA Mayoral Candidate for Johannesburg

I am ready to bring change to Johannesburg as DA Mayoral Candidate

DA Soweto West Constituency vocal on racism and jobs - featured on Soweto TV

My constituency, Soweto West, marched against racism and unemployment in Protea Glen last Saturday. We were joined by a crew from Soweto TV who produced a 2 minute clip which was aired on the Monday evening and Tuesday morning news bulletins.

You can watch it here

Then on Tuesday our Constituency  Secretary, Billy Nyaku, was interviewed on the News and Views show which aired that evening. You can see the interview here.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Press release - Democratic Alliance Soweto West constituency marches for jobs

Democratic Alliance media statement by
Toby Chance MP
Soweto West Constituency leader

Democratic Alliance Soweto West constituency marches for jobs
12 January 2016
Release: Immediate

The Democratic Alliance Soweto West constituency recently marched against the high unemployment rate in Soweto.

In attendance was the DA Soweto West constituency leader, Toby Chance MP, Councillor Makatisane Papo, DA Activists and the Protea Glen Community members.

Unemployment is the primary challenge in the lives of South Africans at present and the march demonstrated the DA’s commitment to presenting solutions to this issue.