The MEC of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, has decided that the Northern Cape Small Medium and Micro Enterprise Trust (NCSMMET) should process the Economic Development Growth Fund (EDGF) applications.
The MEC met with business groupings recently including those who were unhappy with the advert that “excluded” JT Gaetsewe and Francis Baard districts. Jack’s office indicated that he was not aware of the advert at the time of its distribution on social media. Jack believes the department does not have the capacity to handle the workload that comes with selection, interviews, long list, short list and approving of qualifying enterprises. The decision, whilst being a deviation from past practice, is intended to ensure maximum transparency hence Jack has instructed NCSMMET to advertise the long-list, short list and also advertise the approved list of beneficiaries of the Economic Growth and Development Fund.
In a recently released statement the MEC reminded the concerned small businesses about his budget vote speech where he indicated that- “Because of the weakness in the EGDF system, which has been under the control of DEDaT, there were unlawful activities which were detected in the past financial year. The enterprises that did not even bother to apply for funding, nearly received money because of their proximity to the authorities. Various stakeholders including Mayors, Municipal Managers, LED officers and SMME’s have expressed serious concerns on how the department continues to manage this fund amidst the lack of transparency and proper monitoring.”
Mac Jack’s office was still waiting, at the time of the release of the statement, for Samuel Mabilo, the Acting Head of Department to authorise the NCSMMET to run the EGDF. The expectation was that after authorisation, the NCSMMET would make a rigorous effort to attract more applicants to ensure equitable regional spread of funding. This was to be done through a more radical public awareness campaign, through radio and newspapers.