Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Notice of motion in the National Assembly

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

                                                      NATIONAL ASSEMBLY


Internal Ref Number:
Toby Chance

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.


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.