Statement presented by the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mr JL Mahlangu, MPL, during the departmental media briefing held in Promenade Hotel in Nelspruit, Mbombela Local Municipality
28 Sep 2010
Ladies and gentlemen from both the print and electronic media
Let me start off by expressing our humble appreciation for accepting our invitation to attend today’s media briefing. We continue to value the strong relationship we’ve built so far, hence we will continue to interact with you in order to share information about the progress we have made since the last time we met. We continue to be humbled by the positive coverage we mostly receive, which informs our people about the work we do, and how we strive to better their lives. May I also convey our sincere apology for having postponed this briefing a number of times, due to unforeseen and unavoidable commitments. According to our plans, we were supposed to have met in July for our first quarterly briefing of the 2010/11 financial year.
However you will recall that the country was still engulfed by the soccer fever then, and we knew that the interest was mainly on the game. May I take this opportunity to pay homage to our people, who have played excellent hosts to our visitors during the soccer spectacular. The excellent service provided by our hospitality industry has impacted positively on our image, as a world-class tourism destination of first choice. We thank them very much for showing the world that we are warm and welcoming people.
Working together, we can do more to continue to carry out our constitutional mandate of being accountable to the people.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, once more, I have requested the management of the department and our public entities to join me in this briefing, in order to assist and give detailed information regarding all possible questions you may raise.
Let me now take stock of the progress made so far, with regard to commitments we made for the 2010/11 financial year:
Integrated Economic Development
In order to increase the number of entrepreneurs in the mainstream economy, we continued to implement the business launchpad competition a concept which is intended to give funding opportunities to all those aspiring entrepreneurs, who’ve found it difficult to get start-up or expansion funding from conventional commercial banks. We are proud to announce that one of the 2009 winners of the competition in the ICT category, Mr Maphindi Ngwenya of Nelspruit, has just been awarded a contract to develop digital billboards for the King Shaka International Airport in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mr Maphindi received funding for mentorship and business development support to the tune of R250 000 after winning in the competition. We have launched the competition for 2010 in June, and conducted 12 workshops to assist the applicants to fill the forms, but could not adjudicate due to the public sector strike. The short-listing of applicants for the ten sector categories has been done and we hope to have concluded the selection of the winners, with the assistance of commercial banks, by the end of October this year.
The youth entrepreneurship programme saw Ms Julia Shungube of Siphandane Trading in Nkomazi winning start-up equipment to the value of R150 000 for her body oil making business.
Ms Shungube manufactures body oil from the japhropa plant, and was recently selected by thedti to form part of an investment promotion mission to China in July this year, to go an exhibit her product.
Our commitment towards facilitating for the establishment of co-operatives remains solid. During the period under review, our intervention saw the establishment of three primary cooperatives and one secondary cooperative. They are the Buhlemsukaligwa workers, boyzin printing service, mycido transport and the Ehlanzeni cooperative movement, respectively. We also conducted six co-operatives seminars in six municipalities, namely, Lekwa, Bushbuckridge, Thembisile Hani, Dr. JS Moroka, Nkomazi and Albert Luthuli.
Trade and Sector Development
In order to amongst others, ensure the development of competitive industries in growth sectors, we can report that we have:
- identified a site for the construction of the food technology centre
- completed feasibility studies for the Mbombela hydro-electric plant with the aim of implementing at least one green and energy saving project
- established a steering committee for the Mpumalanga Film and Video Development Office
- finalised processes that will realise the establishment of the Middelburg Industrial Park
- facilitated the establishment of the Mpumalanga Craft Forum
Selected eight Small Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME)s in agro-processing, crafts, and manufacturing to be equipped with export skills.
Business Regulation and Governance
In continuing to ensure that consumers are protected from unscrupulous business practices, we investigated 754 reported cases and resolved 514 of them. consumer education awareness programmes continues to be our priority in this area of work, hence we conducted 22 workshops, 15 radio talk-shows and six road-shows. Our consumer court also managed to resolve five reported cases.
With regard to enforcing compliance in terms of the applicable liquor laws by inspecting licensed liquor outlets in partnership with the South African Police Service (SAPS), we visited and inspected 76 liquor outlets. We also conducted section 11 hearings, that is, hearings dealing with contravention of the liquor licence Act, which resulted in two licences being revoked; four suspended and one postponed at the request of the legal representative of the applicant.
We also received 159 new liquor licence applications and approved 84 of them in principle, pending the final inspection of the premises in question, to ensure that they conform to the application submitted. 105 liquor licences were issued after we had satisfied ourselves that the premises conform to the applicable laws. We further received 293 applications for liquor licence renewals, which are currently under consideration.
On mandate on the environment is to amongst others, protect the environment from being impacted on negatively, including air quality control. We can report that we’ve amongst others:
- Implemented the Information Gathering and Policy Review and Awareness Programme on Climate Change
- Received and finalised 59 Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) applications within the legislated timeframes;
- Processed 6 waste licence applications;
Submitted a Waste License application for the Nkangala centralised Waste Management Facility; Referred 59 mine prospecting licence applications to the Minister of Mineral Resources
- Attended to 38 complaints regarding environmental laws contraventions; and
- Conducted 76 outreach visits to municipalities and 70 waste clean-up campaigns.
Outbound Investment Missions
We intend to undertake investment promotion mission to Paris in France before the end of October 2010, to study their fresh produce market, with the intention of copying best practice models since theirs is said to be the best in the world. This will assist us because we are intending to establish one such market in the province. The trip will also include meetings with organised business to attract investment to the province. We will also go on a follow-up mission to Portugal, to conclude several agreements. We will further go to Brazil, Mexico and Chile on similar investment missions before the end of the year.
Through our intervention, 22 and 15 SMMEs participated at the India Show FACIM in Maputo, Mozambique respectively.
The tourism airlift contract we signed with Comair through our public entity, the MTPA, continues to bear fruit. The reports we are receiving from the KMIA is that Comair flights landing at the airport continues to be fully booked since the 2010 FIFA World Cup games.
In promoting our province as a tourism destination of first choice, we’ve just the past long weekend hosted a huge number of television, radio as well as music personalities to show-case our tourism products. We believe they will afterwards become our tourism ambassadors and spread the word out there.
We are happy to announce the audit outcomes for the financial year, 2009/10:
- The Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism received an unqualified audit opinion with one matter of emphasis
- The Mpumalanga Gambling Board continued to be a shining star by once again, receiving a clean audit opinion with no matter of emphasis
- The MTPA received an unqualified audit opinion with matters of emphasis
- MEGA also received an unqualified audit opinion with matters of emphasis
- MADC and MHFCo also received unqualified audit opinions.
The economic growth path for Mpumalanga
In line with the resolution of the NGC of the ruling party regarding economic development, we are in the process of charting our own economic growth path – within the national parameters. We are currently consulting various external stakeholders and will hold a round-table discussion with them this coming Friday (1 October 2010). This will culminate into a provincial retreat on 7 October 2010, where the economic gGrowth path will be finalised.
Once more, we continue to appreciate your commitment as the media, to the partnership that we’ve built. It can only mean that you equally believe in what we are doing, hence you continue to come in large numbers when we invite you to such briefings. Thank you very much for honouring this invitation.
Working together we can do more to speed up economic growth and transform the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihood for the people of Mpumalanga.
I thank you!
Mohau Ramodibe, Head of Communication and Spokesperson
Tel: 013 766 4271/4148
Cell: 082 771 9950
Issued by: Mpumalanga Economic Development, Environment and Tourism
28 Sep 2010
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