Western Cape Appropriation Bill: Department of Economic Development and Tourism

Finance, Economic Opportunities and Tourism (WCPP)

17 March 2023
Chairperson: Ms C Murray (DA)
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Meeting Summary


Western Cape Appropriation Bill 2023

The Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Opportunities and Tourism deliberated on Budget Vote 12: Department on Economic Development and Tourism.

Minister Mireille Wenger stated that the Department was allocated a budget of R512.8 million for the 2022/23 financial year. The focus would be on energy and exports to increase market access and diversify the exporter base. She said the Department’s main aim would be to remove barriers, support entrepreneurs and improve employability and SMME development. She was asked to unpack some more of the Informal economy as it was an interesting point. Members asked how this could be achieved in comparison to the targets of previous years. Members asked what the response was around the Informal economy as the goalposts were shifted each time, such as with the Township Revitalisation Strategy. Members also wanted to know more about the new Growth for Jobs Strategy and how this differed from the last strategy in the previous Administration.

The Standing Committee on Finance, Economic Opportunities and Tourism was informed that the Department’s work was ultimately underpinned by advocacy and digital enablement. Acting HOD, Mr Rashied Toefy, was pleased to report that for the first time, an entire cluster approach could be seen with the work of the Department and he remained confident that the Department would achieve its set targets.

Members were concerned about the ease of doing business and the Red Tape Reduction Strategy which tried to get things done more than keeping things in the system to achieve growth. They called on the Department to practice what they preached regarding the Informal and Township economy. The Committee said that there was a perpetual review whenever one asked about the Informal Economy. The timing to receive the strategy then became a moving target. A Member was venting about this because it was unfair that each time the Informal or Township Economy was discussed, a review was always being done. Very little has been said about the role of central government and those functions that, in terms of the Constitution, do not fall under the role of the province back and forth into Red Tape of government as opposed to coming up with actual solutions

From an agricultural point of view, one had not heard anything from central government on the Informal Economy. Could the Department provide assurance that it is not only looking at formal and informal trading but also emphasising the importance of infrastructure investment? Who is taking responsibility for those discussions and where and when is this being placed on the agenda? This was crucial in unlocking the Western Cape’s potential and creating further job growth.

The Committee supported Budget Vote 12 except for the ANC and Al-Jama-ah as per Rule 90. The Committee resolved that it would request the Department to provide an update on the Green Economy Project focused on SMMEs and the township economy. Oversight would also be done in Atlantis since the Department had secured a building with tenants.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed all present in the meeting and asked Members and the delegation to introduce them. An apology was received from HOD Velile Dube and the Acting HOD, Mr Rashied Toefy, would be standing in for him.

Minister’s introductory remarks

Minister Mireille Wenger said that the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) was allocated a budget of R512.8 million for the 2022/23 financial year. Minister Wenger said that the focus would be on energy and exports which would require supporting Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) to increase market access and diversify the exporter base. There was hope to remove barriers and support entrepreneurs and the Department would also look at improving employability and SMME development. The Department’s work was underpinned by advocacy and enablement as well as digital enablement.

Acting HOD Toefy said that the Department was at quite an exciting precipice for the first time this year. The priorities outlined by the Minister showed the Department’s response and strategy and he was very excited that, for the first time, an entire cluster approach could be seen. What is presented today will be the Department’s contribution to the R500 million Growth for Jobs Strategy (G for J) and he was excited that jobs were being taken seriously under the leadership of Minister Wenger. He was confident that some of the audacious targets of the Department would be reached.


Ms N Nkondlo (ANC) asked about her question posed to Minister Wenger after the Budget Speech. She said Minister Wenger asked her to wait for the discussions today. She had been trying to find a response to her question but had not. On Mr Toefy’s comments on the new strategy, she suggested that he juxtapose the new strategy on jobs and explain what was different with this strategy compared to the one in the last Administration by the previous Premier. It was called VIPs and DEDAT had a target of almost the same number for over 400 000 jobs.

Minister Wenger said that the growth for jobs strategy was almost complete and the Department was in the final stretches of this which should be complete by the end of the financial year. Thereafter, the Department would take it to Cabinet and present it to the Committee once it has been concluded. The Department can then share the seven priority areas, how it reached those targets and the problem statements underpinning each target.

The Chairperson said she noted with G for J that there would be an increased focus on investment particularly foreign investment. She asked if the Minister could unpack this some more as it was an interesting point. How would this be achieved in comparison to the targets of previous years, and linking to Ms Nkondlo’s question, in comparison to prior targets?

Mr Toefy said he noted with the new approach that the informal and township economy was an integral part of the new strategy and urban dimensions of the approach.

Ms Jo-Ann Johnston, DDG: Strategic Economic Accelerators and Development, DEDAT, said the key differences between the G for J and previous strategies was that it is an all-of-government approach and basically reflected the summation of the various Department’s contributions. In developing this strategy, the entire economic cluster has been involved in identifying priority areas and key interventions that presided within them. The Department is focusing on systemic change and not short term benefits to deal with the issue at the core as opposed to its symptoms. The focus is on horizontal employment so it is not about just helping a specific company, sector or industry, but rather about seeing how one can bring about change that positively impacts on the entire sector. The Department has substantial stretch targets which could be uncomfortable for some, but she thought the Department needed to be ambitious given the economic challenges the country was faced with. Historically investment targets have been R5 billion over five years. The G for J stretched targets by 2035 was effectively 20% of the GDP and translated to R200 billion per annum and the target was drawn from the National Development Plan. Previous strategies had a five-year time horizon and this strategy allowed 12 years and the space to make the systemic changes. The informal economy is not binary and there are different levels of informality. It is about looking at how one could better embed this within the power and value chains within which they operate. Looking at waste collectors, they are a pivotal part of the value chain and generally have very little power to negotiate favourable terms, allowing them to have a sustainable livelihood. The Department recognises that informal and township are not synonymous, but there is quite a lot of overlap and moving forward, we will also pull the informal sector more strongly into the township strategy that the Department is developing.

Ms Fayruz Dharsey, Director: Regional Economic Development, DEDAT, said that there was a Draft Township Economic Growth Strategy and the Department was looking at aligning this with G for J. More specifically, the work of the Department in the informal township trading space has essentially covered 11 infrastructure projects over eight municipalities. R6.7 million has been leveraged from those municipalities along with the Department’s own funds flowing from the SMME booster fund which has been operating since 2019. Preliminary figures showed that 49 jobs and an additional 61 jobs had been created to date. The Department is also consolidating the trading infrastructure and looking at the next level of support. From a red tape reduction perspective, our municipalities are not ready to establish individual red tape units at a local level as it is too costly and requires changes to the organogram and resources at a municipal level which are substantially constrained. The Department is looking at cases that come in on a municipal case-by-case basis, specifically for trading permit blockages on this and proactive systemic challenges that can be tackled with the municipality in question. In the programme for 2023/24, red tape has at least 2 G for J collaborations planned to help support municipalities in townships. The case management system is open, so specific cases are lodged with the Red Tape Unit. The Department is looking to support a service charter initiative at a municipal level, not just for SMMEs but also in the township economy space. On trading facilities, many foundational things have been put in place with either brick or water training facilities built or containerised. The Department also looks at offering support through lobbying partners such as CEDAR which is a substantial partner. The Department of Agriculture and Land Reform is also playing a substantial role in taking training initiatives to a sustainable level.

The Chairperson asked if there were any follow-up questions.

Ms Nkondlo said she was concerned about the ease of doing business and the Red Tape Reduction Strategy which tried to get things done more than keeping things in the system to achieve growth. She called on the Department to practice what they preached regarding the informal and township economy. She raised this issue as it has continued in her seven years in the legislature. She said there were various studies and projects, such as a Township Revitalisation Strategy, which was being reviewed. Whenever one asks about this, there is a perpetual review. The timing to receive the strategy then becomes a moving target. She said she was venting about this, because it was unfair that each time the informal or township economy was discussed, there was always a review which took these things back and forth into the red tape of government as opposed to coming up with actual solutions. Many studies, academic and others, have termed this the centre versus the peripheral as these are economies outside of the mainstream. These economies will then always be in conflict with the law, as we have seen with the City of Cape Town and law enforcement with informal traders, as permits are not easily obtainable. She was concerned about isolated projects and measuring their impact. Entrepreneurs in townships also now have to deal with paying protection fees. She asked Minister Wenger whether elements in the strategy dealt with the safety environment in the township and informal spaces and what was being done.

Ms Dharsey said the Department was completely supportive of Ms Nkondlo’s sentiments and offered some context. She said the initiatives the Department has undertaken, is undertaking and intends to undertake are grounded in the fact that the best support for the township economy is as close to local level and that means the bylaws, processes and business environment. For example, the Business Development Support Programme with Drakenstein looks at supporting entrepreneurs, both formal and informal, with financial and non-financial support. The best way the Department can be responsive at this time is to work with municipalities. Only a handful of provinces have clear policies for the township economy, and the Department's interventions are not as ad hoc as it is portrayed as the Department works with Municipalities. If the Township Economic Growth Strategy is to be effectively adopted at municipal level, for the growth in township areas and the informal trading environment, one needs to spend a bit of time aligning the strategy that the province has developed with G for J. The Department welcomes any contributions on this from the Committee. 

Mr A van Der Westhuizen (DA) said that it was what was not said that interested him. Very little has been said about the role of central government and those functions that, in terms of the Constitution, do not fall under the role of the province. Given Ms Nkondlo’s comments, we all understand why it is so important to assist the Western Cape. In an orderly society where crime can be curbed, this plays a big role in paving the way towards economic growth, but there are a number of aspects in the Western Cape such as water for irrigation. It is not only construction which has been delayed. Clan William is a very well-known example of that. Once we have the water, we need to know to whom it will be made available. This is why there are things such as calls for water licenses, the allocation of water rights. There is also an official to monitor the performance of the Cape Town port. This is crucial, particularly from an agricultural point of view, but one has not heard anything from central government on this. Could the Department provide assurance that it is not only looking at formal and informal trading, but also emphasising the importance of infrastructure investment? Who is taking responsibility for those discussions and where and when is this being placed on the agenda? He asked that the Committee be informed of the initiatives and successes on this. This is a crucial keystone in unlocking the Western Cape’s potential and creating further job growth.

Mr I Sileku (DA) asked about the G for J and how the Department would ensure alignment in terms of what the province aims to achieve. Municipalities are not always aligned with what is aimed to be achieved by the province. Municipalities are lacking financially and in terms of strategy. Money is invested in new ideas and those ideas are then abandoned because municipalities are not contributing to what the province aims to achieve. What lessons have been learned in the past and what will the Department do differently to ensure that G for J is a success and that it is seen as a contributor so that no municipality, resident or sector is left behind?

Minister Wenger said she wanted to distinguish between red tape and doing ease of business. Red tape was where the Department helped and in the informal space, there may be a business with a particular bylaw that is too restrictive. Taking this a step further, one needs to understand that it is not only about individual cases, but it is about receiving a number of individual complaints to understand that it is a restrictive bylaw. For example, there could be a programme on how to amend bylaws for municipalities and make it easier for informal traders which would then become an ease of doing a business project that essentially came out of a red tape reduction complaint. In many instances, provinces do not have the levers or mechanisms to change blockages. That being so, the Department has many ways to improve, such as through advocacy and partnership, such as its MOU with the Department of Small Business Development. There is a building reform program which tries to unlock building plans, and converting into construction sites as, at the moment, there is a lot of growth in municipalities relating to construction and municipalities take quite long to process this. We are trying to encourage and help other spheres of government in some of these ease of business issues. Water is one of the key pillars of the Growth for Jobs Strategy, but we are not presenting this today as it would fall into a different department’s budget, but it would show how different department’s work together on cross-cutting matters that the economy needs. The Department has contemplated things such as stable water supply, but this does not necessarily fit into the DEDAT budget. Gas is part of the provincial government’s energy response and the Infrastructure Department will conduct exploratory research on gas.

Mr Toefy said the Department was aware that it could not achieve infrastructure success without partnerships. He assured the Committee that when the Department embarked on the G for J, it was not a stand-alone township strategy, but was integrated into its approach. There are projects in the province addressing digital broadband, crime, safety and housing issues. A large part of the budget focuses on entities and families at risk. Our approach to the township economy is integrated and dispersed to various entities across the province.

Ms Johnston said the target for infrastructure is for infrastructural Capex budget expenditure to be a third of the target in the NDP. This translates to R100 billion per annum to be spent by the public sector per province. The public sector includes the province, the municipality and national government. The target means that one needs to work in tandem. There are a number of interventions that look at how one could learn from our past sub-optimal attempts to work with Municipalities, and the Department recognises that perhaps there are weaknesses and specific interventions needed in the strategy to overcome challenges. This is about partnerships within the different spheres of government. On the informal economy and challenges of extortion, a specific intervention has been identified within the G for J strategy. It identifies and addresses challenges in ease of doing business including the concerns about crime and safety within the environment for entrepreneurs in micro businesses. Together, the Department and Municipalities must consider establishing support centres in communities. There is explicit recognition of challenges in the townships and the intention is to deal with that within the strategy and the implementation plan.

The Chairperson said she would put the entire budget to the Committee as opposed to proceeding on a page by page basis.

Mr van Der Westhuizen said that the budget was interesting as there were quite a number of changes from previous years and this was a sign that the budget had been taken very closely under the loop and programmes have been evaluated with a real effort to change direction or more impetus has been given to certain initiatives. This resulted in a number of significant percentage changes for a number of items under this vote. He asked for an explanation relating to the strategy and thinking behind this. On page 626, he noted significant growth under “Treasury Financing” from the current year's R23 million to a proposed R30 million. In the next year, it would drop quite sharply again. He asked why there was an expected increase and then decrease. On page 629, under the Saldanha Bay IDZ, he was unsure if the figures were due to the huge investment in infrastructure, but there has been a significant drop in the budget allocated to the Saldanha Bay IDZ from almost R47 million to R42 million for the upcoming year. He asked for the rationale behind this. He referred to page 634, Table 9.2 where the Red Tape Reduction has also dropped significantly from the R20.5 million to only R13 million for the current year.

Minister Wenger said the Department was trying to get Saldanha Bay on a path of sustainability where it could fund much of its own operations. This was why a reduction was seen in the provincial government’s contribution towards this entity.

Ms Mymoena Abrahams, CFO, DEDAT, said a different approach was taken with the budget. What is being seen is the energy allocation that comes through from the Provincial Treasury for the Department. The increase relates to the additional energy money. On the financing area, the R30 million is a once-off allocation for the EDP and at this point, the EDP is going through a strategic re-look. For the 2022/23 financial year, the Department received a once-off allocation and once it has possession on the EDP, it would either remain with the Department going through to the 2024/25 and 2025/26 financial years. On the reduction from R20 million to R13 million, the Red Tape Unit has been on a programme for the past four years where it implemented systems for ease of doing business and automation systems for municipalities to move from a paper system to a digital system. The approach is to consolidate and look at the impact over the last five years to make improvements and have a more consolidated approach.

Ms Nkondlo referred to page 611 under “Ease of Doing Business”; she asked what was meant by streamlining specific bylaws and which bylaws were being referred to. What kind of interface or forums have there been on this particular work? On page 615, under “Enterprise Development”, and the SMME Booster Fund, her understanding was that a bigger portion would go to intermediaries. With the continuation of the Booster Fund, is the intermediary approach still being taken? If so, what percentage of the booster fund this year would go to those intermediaries versus the actual SMMEs? What has the success story been of this approach?

Ms Michelle Ellis, Director: Red Tape Reduction, said the Department’s response to the bylaws was to look at it more on an ad-hoc basis such as when a business complains. The Department has focused on needy municipalities and has thus far developed a Model Events Policy bylaw and a Model Film Policy bylaw. This will be rolled out to municipalities who have contacted the Department. These model bylaws can be customised in Municipalities. Stellenbosch Municipality has reached out to the Department to assist in drafting a corporate economic zone which will be a corporate bylaw for events and outdoor dining. On municipalities supported, the interventions are directed at non-metropolitan municipalities such as Drakenstein, Stellenbosch, Bergriver, Matsikama and Overstrand, Prince Albert, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Bitou and Swellendam.

Minister Wenger said on forums that the Department recently held an Ease Of Doing Business event where many Departments came together, and shared issues and best practice ideas and how to use the forum to promote ease of doing business and awareness across government.

The advantage of the SMME booster fund is the ability to partner with organisations already providing support. The Department is partnering with organisations and not individual SMMEs. The ability to leverage resources happens through partnering, expanding and enhancing support to SMMEs. Warm Up supports three to five female-owned businesses in the Western Cape and partnering with them enables the Department to support much more women. Enhancement is important as the partnerships provide mentorship and support and the Department will then be then able to provide funding and access to equipment. The majority of funding goes to SMMEs. Particular criteria are used to decide what amount of funding goes to SMMEs or an organisation.

Mr Sileku referred to page 611 under “Ease of Doing Business” where the Department mentions that they are busy with 16 projects across 11 municipalities. Out of the 11 municipalities, how many are rural municipalities? On page 616, the Department talks about energy resilience; what is the relationship between the Department of Local Government (DLG) and this Department on the Municipal Energy Reliance Programme?

The Chairperson referred to page 634, on Enterprise Development and the allocation of R18 million made for the MTEF, specifically for energy and green economy projects. This is fantastic given the threat of blackouts that we face and that we struggle to keep the lights on from day to day. What kind of projects will be funded and how will beneficiaries be selected to play a part in putting an end to loadshedding?

The Department said it was engaging with the Department of Small Business Development through the Small Enterprise Finance Agency to support businesses given the impact of loadshedding. The Department is looking at partnering or complementing to ensure that it supports businesses affected by loadshedding in the Western Cape. Meetings will be scheduled with the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) on rollouts and what the programme will look like. The Department worked closely with local government on the Municipal Energy Resilience Programme. The Department of the Premier is also working closely on this. The budget has been defined in an integrated manner. A special energy MTEC was held. DLG is also supporting diesel energy procurement. Moving forward, one needs to find a more sustainable approach as the cost of diesel is becoming incredibly prohibitive. The Department is looking at testing battery and technology systems. A further example of cross-collaborative working is the Municipal IPP and the preparation facility established with the Department of Infrastructure.

Ms Nkondlo asked when delivery would take place given the technical issues. She said the energy project was within two programmes and there was an allocation of almost R28 million for the current financial year. She asked what the difference was with this project and how it differed from the SMMEs. Are these projects still in the preparatory phase? On page 615, the Department notes that it has done some information sessions with the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) under the Contractor Development Programme. Government is spending almost R32.6 billion on infrastructure. Are there any engagements that are specific to infrastructure-led growth? This looks good on paper with huge amounts and one is always looking at the presumed trickle effect of this. She asked what was embedded in the R32.6 billion on infrastructure projects where the growth of grade 1 to 4 contractors could be seen in sub-contracting bigger projects. What jobs could be accrued from the private sector relating to this?

Ms Helen Davies, Chief Director: Green Economy, said there was the Green Economy Eco Support Project, which directly supported the industry and focused on energy and water. It included market intelligence, direct industry support and debriefing events. It also supports municipalities in unlocking barriers to industry. There are alternative options, but the drafting of the contract is in progress. On hydrogen development, substantial work has been undertaken by Saldanha Bay IDZ and the Department. Cabinet has endorsed a green hydrogen position paper and has signed an MOU with the Northern Cape to build a green hydrogen corridor. There are continual engagements with multiple industry players both in South Africa and internationally and the Department has coordinated a Green Hydrogen Work Group to define and detail the project concept and what needs to be taken forward. The procurement for services to undertake a green hydrogen strategy development is already underway. There have been extensive engagements with Sasol and ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) around making the partnership on green hydrogen possible. The funding will include a Just Energy Transition Plan led by Programme 3. This plan defines the energy resilience program and the vision and goals that the Department has on how it will define its investment. This will consider what will be invested, where it will be invested, the size of the investment, and the approach to attracting finance for the Western Cape’s Energy Resilience Program.

On the CIDB Programme, there are partnerships with the Department of Transport and Public Works and it focuses on the emerging contractor in Levels 1 and 2 and aspirant contractors. A range of training interventions looks at contractors on different grades to ensure that they are capacitated to access opportunities. The training extends between six and 18 months. The Department of Public Works looks at compliance criteria enabling contractors to take up business opportunities. The Department also engages in financial and non-financial support available by the Departments, the challenges the business may face and they are given access to a number of provincial and national opportunities available. The Department also looks at what opportunities could be found in the private sector.

Mr Sileku referred to page 616 and asked how the Department envisaged reaching 600 000 jobs by 2035 and what role municipalities would play if such plans were in place. How would the municipality contribute to achieving the envisaged goal by 2035 to ensure 600 000 sustainable jobs were reached? There has been no synergy in reaching goals. How will the Department ensure it reaches its goals and that the jobs created are not temporary, but sustainable jobs?

Ms Johnston said that for every 1% of GDP growth, employment grew by 6% based on historical trends. If one reached the R1 trillion target and grew by 4% to 6% exponentially, this meant 600 000 to a million jobs would be created in the next 12 years. This will be sustainable, because it is companies or the private sector that is creating those jobs. Over the last 15 to 20 years, the economy has been growing, but not as fast as the interest in the job market. Over the last ten years, the economy has grown by 0, 5% and the market excess has been 0, 2% with more interest in the job market than the economic rate has been able to absorb. Projections and modelling have been done by a number of economic experts. On economic infrastructure in townships and housing, micro-builders will be brought on board. Provinces will work closely with municipalities on the Growth for Jobs Strategy, particularly around enablers such as water. Growth opportunities and how one can stimulate this is considered in addition to market growth.

The Chairperson referred to page 638 and noted an 11% increase in funding to Wesgro. She asked what role Wesgro would play in G for J and enablement. Was this contributing to enhancing foreign direct investment in the province?

Ms Wrenelle Stander, Chief Executive Officer, Wesgro, said that additional funding was given to Wesgro over the MTEF relating to the green hydrogen work. This work will focus on developing a Green Hydrogen Strategy and this will be followed by implementation in the coming years. Wesgro’s mandate includes export and investments, particular markets and tourism. R200 billion is the investment target. Wesgro will be responsible for short term investment and DEDAT will look at tourism and Wesgro will promote the investment.

Wesgro had a dedicated person working with the Department on the Growth for Jobs Strategy and Wesgro will contribute to all key priority focus areas. It also plays a big role in the tech and innovation space and has aligned its budget. The focus is also to make the Wesgro cargo move faster to ensure that it is able to ramp up over time and meet some of the objectives.

Mr van Der Westhuizen referred to page 636 and the significant increase in private enterprises. He asked which enterprises this was and noted a significant drop in support for the Western Cape Liquor Authority. He referred to page 637 and Program 3 which stated that the entire sub-programme had been amended as the Strategic Initiative Unit would now be housed within Programme 5. He assumed this was to explain some of the changes in Table 9.3. He struggled to place the notes with the figures in Table 9.3 and wanted clarity on this. In Table 9.3.1 and Sector Development, he noted a drop in the compensation of employees. He wanted an explanation of the changes from year to year and the sharp increase in transfers to private enterprises.

Ms Abrahams said the increases relate to the SMME fund. There are no beneficiaries at this stage once the programme is rolled out and the adjudication process begins. The note is a legacy note and has been in the budget for the past 10 years. Budgets are set by National Treasury and where a Department deviates, it must indicate this with a note. Strategic Initiative was a sub-programme which no longer exists. On ease of doing business, the Department supported the Liquor Authority and automated its system. This has been a once-off thing to support the Authority.

Ms Nkondlo also asked for an explanation of the spikes in expenditure of some programmes such as with catering which increased to about 240%. She asked what was causing these increases related to venues, transport and fleet services. The number of personnel has decreased from trade and sector development right up to skills development and more information was needed on this. She noted that the budget for skills development was constantly decreasing, particularly concerning partnerships.

Ms Abrahams said some staff had resigned. The Department has decentralised the budget into various programmes. Programme 1 carries travel costing. This has been decentralised for better costing and control. Increased numbers include interns and graduate interns.

The Department said its ability to deliver without partnerships had been reduced by 70%. The Department has compensated for this and it requires warm bodies to develop the partnerships and there has been a reduced emphasis on having hard cash in the partnership space. R104 million was received from National Government, representing more than the allocation. Money is not needed for partnerships, but rather, very capable individuals. This must be done through a history of delivery. The private sector delivered just over R200 million in support of skills development. The Department intended to leverage more than R300 million from partnerships. One of the partners is the Bavarian government and a staff member has been invited there at no cost to them. Partnerships had brought about new green academic instruments and the cost to the Department.

Mr Toefy said there were a number of new curriculum instruments developed with universities. There are just over 4 000 beneficiaries straight from the schooling system into employment. For every R1, the Department leverages R3. Most of the beneficiaries come from township areas.

The Chairperson asked about skills visas and which part of the budget this came from. She asked which markets would be targeted for the investment strategy.

Ms Stander said Wesgro had an advocacy and advisory team that would look at trade and tourism issues. It looks at the EU and Green Transition. It focuses on attracting investment into the green economy, including e-mobility. A lot of investment has been attracted in the last financial year. It also looks at health, fil, agri-processing, manufacturing, real estate and tech. Over the past five years, the majority of investment has come from Europe, the UK and the US. Wesgro is looking to the East to further grow its investments.

Ms Nkondlo referred to page 643 and the budget which states that funds would be allocated for Atlantis and asked at which stage this process was at.

Ms Abrahams referred to page 663 and said the Saldanha Bay IDZ was paid R12.7 million, but it was a once off allocation.

The Department has appointed a principal contractor to start construction within the SEZ and the zone will start with the construction program in May. There is also a series of work packages, specifically targeting SMMEs in and around Atlantis. We hope to achieve up to 40% of the value to SMMEs and, at the least, 30%. This programme is going well and an infrastructure working group has been set up to advise on the processes. Great work has been done on community skills and enterprise development. NBI has partnered with the Department and funds students from the West Coast College. These graduates have been placed in various factories. Opportunities from the green economy are one of the key focuses moving forward. This will create direct jobs, but a linkage opportunity will also be created. A lot more can be done and needs to be done. A factory has been purchased within the zone and this factory was launched two weeks ago during the shareholders' meeting in Atlantis. A lease has been signed with a tenant for the factory.

The Chairperson thanked the delegation for their engagement and efforts and excused them from the meeting.

Committee Budget Vote report

Mr van Der Westhuizen proposed that Budget Vote 12 be supported.

Ms Nkondlo said the Committee should ask the Department to provide an update on the Green Economy Project which is focused on SMMEs and the township economy. She suggested oversight be done in Atlantis since the Department had secured a building which has tenants.

Ms Nkondlo said that as per Rule 90, the ANC did not support Budget Vote 12 and registered its minority view.

Mr Sileku seconded the proposal to support Budget Vote 12.

Mr G Brinkhuis (Al-Jama-ah) said the party also did not support the Budget vote 12.

The Chairperson summarised Members contributions above.

The Chairperson thanked all present in the meeting.

Meeting adjourned.


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