In this virtual meeting, the Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance met with the Western Cape Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) to receive briefings on their quarterly performance for quarter 4 in the 2022/23 financial year and quarter 1 in 2023/24.
Provincial Treasury reported that it achieved 98% of its targets that were set for the fourth quarter, of which 57 out of the 58 targets were achieved. The adjusted expenditure budget was R111 million, of which 98.4% was spent, equating to R109 million.
In the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, 34 of the 35 targets were achieved. Programmes one, two and three each achieved 100% and programme four achieved 83% of their targets. The actual expenditure was R79.869 million. The main budget equated to R340.674 million, and the cash flow projection was R59.092 million.
Members asked about consultancy fees, the cashflow projection and mitigation measures the Department was taking in the event that the Compensation of Employees became unaffordable.
DEDAT reported that in terms of overall performance, it achieved 84% of targets in the 2020/21 financial year, 100% in the 2021/22 financial year and 96% in the 2022/23 financial year. So far, the Department has achieved 55% of its 2023/24 financial year targets.
The 2023/24 first quarter started off with a bang, with the biggest achievement being the Growth 4 Jobs strategy. The Department landed its JSE partnership that will provide support to the SMMEs in supply chain opportunities and financial support. The Tourism Challenge Fund was also launched to provide financial support and unlock partnership opportunities.
Members appreciated DEDAT’s work in advancing economic growth and job creation.
The Department was urged to track the data about what was happening in the informal sectors.
The Committee request that the Department present the modelling it did on a monthly basis in relation to job creation.
Members expressed disappointment about the lack of information in the presentations. They said that the statistics shared were vague and asked for improved information in their next engagement.
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked all the Members to introduce themselves.
Minister Mireille Wenger, Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, greeted the Committee and said that she was appearing on behalf of the Provincial Treasury and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT).
Representatives and officials from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) introduced themselves to the Members of the Committee.
The Chairperson went over the agenda for the meeting, explaining that the Treasury would present first, with the Committee’s questions following. Thereafter, DEDAT would be allowed to deliver its presentation to the Committee.
Briefing by Provincial Treasury
Mr David Savage, Head of Department, Provincial Treasury, was pleased that the Department’s efforts to strengthen and align its activities in governance have proven to perform well in the fourth quarter. This will continue into the first and second quarters of the next financial year.
Ms Annamarie Smit, Chief Financial Officer, Provincial Treasury, thanked the Committee for the opportunity to present at this meeting. She explained that she would be leading the Members through the financial and non-financial performance of the fourth and first quarters. Treasury achieved 98% of its targets that were set for the fourth quarter, of which 57 out of the 58 targets were achieved. The adjusted expenditure budget was R111 million, of which 98.4% was spent, equating to R109 million. As for the entire financial year, 95% of the Treasury’s targets were achieved and a 99.4% expenditure. In the previous financial years, there was huge under-expenditure, but this has improved in the last financial year. There were 63 performance indicators, two of which were only partially achieved and one that was not achieved. As for the expenditure, R317 million of the R318 million budget was spent.
Programme one: Administration: During the fourth quarter, 90% of the performance targets were achieved for this programme (nine out of the 10 targets). One of the targets was partially achieved. Over the entire financial year, R61 million was spent from the adjusted budget of R62 million. In the fourth quarter, Treasury spent R19.44 million from the projected cash flow of R20.9 million. This indicates that the spending items were mainly related to assets, consultancy fees and services.
Programme two: Sustainable Resource Management: Treasury achieved 28 of its targets for the financial year (97%), with one target that was not achieved. As for the fourth quarter, 24 of the 25 planned targets were achieved (96%). Going on to expenditure, 99.6% of the budget was spent for the year, meaning that R127.431 million of the R127.979 million budget was spent. For the fourth quarter, 98% (R44.527 million) of the R45.075 million budget was spent. The main expenditure items were audit fees, consultancy fees, computer services, legal services, printing and publication fees as well as grants to the municipalities.
Programme three: Asset Management: Treasury achieved 92% of its 13 targets, one of which was only partially achieved for the financial year. For the fourth quarter, Treasury achieved 100% of the planned targets. As for the financial year’s financial performance, 100.8% of the budget was spent (R77.561 million of the adjusted R76.937 million budget). As for the fourth quarter, the Treasury spent 102.4% of the R26.309 million cash flow projection budget. The main expenditure items included consultancy services, computer services, agency services, leasing of the building and transfers.
Programme four: Financial Governance: Treasury achieved 100% of the annual and fourth quarter targets. Of the R51.773 million annual adjusted budget, 98.7% (R51.082 million) of that was spent. As for the fourth quarter expenditure, R19.003 million was spent of the R19.491 million cash flow projection. The main spending items included consultancy services, transfers, and audit fees.
Moving on to the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, 34 of the 35 targets were achieved. Programmes one, two and three each achieved 100% and programme four achieved 83% of their targets. The actual expenditure was R79.869 million. The main budget equated to R340.674 million, and the cash flow projection was R59.092 million.
Ms Smit indicated that the Treasury spent somewhat more than the cash flow projections, which can be attributed to the increased cost of living adjustments. In the main budget, Programme One spent 21%, Programme Two spent 27%, Programme Three spent 19.5%, and Programme Four spent 23.8%. As for the cash flow projections, Programme One spent 115.2%, Programme Two spent 194.1%, Programme Three spent 96.9%, and Programme Four spent 113.3%.
Programme One achieved eight of its targets in the first quarter. The majority of the programme’s expenditure can be attributed to the compensation of employees, goods and services, transfers and subsidies, capital assets, and payments for financial assets.
Programme two achieved 100% (14/14) of its targets in the quarter. The programme’s expenses are accredited to compensation of employees, goods and services, and transfers and subsidies.
Programme three achieved all seven of its targets in the fourth quarter. The expenditure is mainly attributed to compensation of employees, goods and services, and transfers and subsidies.
Programme four achieved 100% of its targets with the main expenditure accredited to compensation of employees, goods and services, and transfers and subsidies.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Smit for the presentation and opened the floor to any questions from the Committee.
Mr A. van der Westhuizen (DA) pointed out that it is difficult to ask questions when only percentages are shown in the presentation. Usually, indicators are utilised in order to show which indicators were achieved and which were not. He asked why Treasury decided to use percentages instead of indicators in the presentation.
Ms N Nkondlo (ANC) agreed with Mr Van der Westhuizen, noting that the indicators would provide clarity on the information that was presented and that it would also prevent Members from asking repetitive questions. With reference to slides five and six, she asked what percentage of fees went to consultancy fees and what exactly the consultancy services were used for. She also sought clarity on the concept of the cashflow projection in terms of performance and why some programmes had more than 100% cash flow projections.
The Chairperson asked what contributed to the improved expenditure as shown in slide three compared to previous financial years. She also asked for clarity in reference to the ongoing equipment in slide four. As for slide five, there was one target that was not achieved, and the note said that it related to SDAs. Why was this not achieved?
Minister Wenger explained that when the Treasury was invited to this meeting it was not provided with information relating to the format the Committee wanted it to present its presentation. If the Committee would prefer a specific way that the information be presented, the delegation would be happy to do so.
Mr Savage explained that the two targets that were partially achieved were associated with the publication date target of the procurement of one of the quarterly disclosure reports. The reason for missing this target is because Treasury had not completed its review process. This is quite a complicated report with a range of data sets, and it evolves every quarter. The other partial achievement was on bursaries, and this proves to be an ongoing challenge because not everyone takes up the bursaries that the Treasury offers. So, it does occasionally miss the target in this respect. The target that was not achieved is associated with enabling the Departments of Health and Education to use multiple enabling tools for their infrastructure projects. In order to do so, they need to put in place service delivery agreements (SDAs), and these agreements need to be negotiated with their implementing agents. The Treasury is targeting to review the SDAs to deliver an assessment on these agreements, but they could not get these agreements finalised in time. These processes are underway.
As for the cashflow projection, Treasury is given an appropriation from the Department’s budget every year. Treasury then determines how that budget will be broken down every quarter and how it will be utilised each quarter. This forms part of the financial planning exercise. What is being reported on is whether the Treasury is running ahead or behind on its planned spending schedule for the year. As the CFO explained, the Treasury is running over 100% in some areas. This is largely driven by two factors: the improvement and conditions of service which is a systemic factor. The Treasury does not yet have the resources to cover the full costs of the agreement. Across all departments, salary increases have been implemented. Secondly, Treasury was able to get the grants out to the municipalities earlier than they had anticipated, and this is good because the Treasury would prefer if these grants arrived at the same time as the municipal financial year.
In response to the Chairperson’s question, there has been a lot of work on the systems in the Department at a planning, execution, and monitoring level. The main reasons for this improvement are the passion and intention of the management team. There has been a lot of work put in place to ensure that the Department’s plans maximise impact.
Ms Smit’s remarks were distorted and could not be captured.
Mr Savage confirmed that the Treasury did submit the tables in their APP submission presentation to the Committee Secretary.
Ms Smit confirmed that she had not continued with the presentation, as Mr Van der Westhuizen asked. She merely responded to a question asked by Ms Nkondlo on the consultancy expenditure.
Ms Nkondlo appreciated that the information was set out in the APP but recommended that the information be inserted in the footnotes as a matter of reference when presenting. She recalled that, in the Energy Crisis meeting, the timing of the grants received by the municipalities always helped. The impression of the technical nature of this is not conveyed in the presentation. As Mr Savage pointed out, the timing of the grants and the municipalities’ financial year is vital.
The Chairperson asked what sort of mitigation measures the Department was taking in the event that CoE’s (Compensation of Employees) become unaffordable. She noted that the passion and drive have contributed towards increased monitoring and expenditure, but what about the systems that Mr Savage alluded to?
Mr Van der Westhuizen said that he was particularly interested in the piloting of the software system for the public service, particularly financial administration. His impression was that the Western Cape was selected to pilot the new software. He asked for feedback on this.
Mr Savage said that, in response to Ms Nkondlo’s recommendations, they will definitely ensure that they steer the presentation in that direction next time in order to make the indicators more useful. With reference to the wage agreement and improvements in service, he acknowledged that this is a big issue across the whole government. Treasury closely monitors the situation with respect to the CoE, and this is why there are cash-flow versus actual expenditure data that are presented. What is not measured cannot be managed. Three main things are being done while the Treasury waits for clarity on the wage agreements. Firstly, the Department is only proceeding with filling critical posts, and this is managed by a committee that sits monthly or as needed, in order to review proposals. Secondly, a pause has been put on recruitment while they review and strengthen the arrangements to fill critical posts. This is to ensure nobody is hired when money will not be available in the long term. Delays in filling posts are also being strategised. None of these are ideal solutions, which is why they are all temporary solutions until funding is secured. The Premier has taken this matter up with National as well. So, there is a lot of work going on at a policy level. The Department is taking management action right now.
In response to the Chairperson’s question, Mr Savage explained that the Department is focusing on a strengthening plan. The Department is assessing its financial and procurement plans, ensuring that the plans match up and how the Department manages risks around all of this. This is just good governance with strategy applied to it. This is reviewed on a quarterly basis in an integrated way where resource managers assess risks and delays. This provides information to management to keep them on track. Thirdly, the control functions have also been strengthened to spot potential risks as early as possible. This is a completely integrated approach to ensure the delivery of the Treasury’s aims are achieved.
The integrated financial management system (IFMS) has a long history. National Treasury is struggling with this rollout, but the Western Cape is currently being used to pilot this. Mr Savage noted that they urgently need to modernise their transversal IT systems but there is a programme to evergreen these systems. There are two things they are focusing on at this moment. The first is data warehousing to make sure that there is improved interoperability between systems, but this is a big challenge. The second area is the e-procurement solution which continues to be successful on a cloud-based platform. It has prospects of becoming the new IFMS nationally.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Savage and the colleagues from the Treasury for answering the Committee’s questions. She then asked that the Members of the Department of Tourism introduce themselves to the Committee.
Briefing by Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT)
Ms Mymoena Abrahams, CFO, DEDAT, explained that the Department achieved 84% of its targets in the 2020/21 financial year, 100% in 2021/22 and 96% in 2022/23. So far, the Department has achieved 55% of its 2023/24 financial year targets.
In the 2022/23 financial year, the Department achieved 100% of its targets in the Administration programme, spending 98.9% of its budget. The Integrated Economic Development Services programme spent 98.6% of its budget and achieved 100% of its targets. The Trade and Sector Development programme also achieved 100% of its targets and spent 99.5% of its budget. The Business Regulation and Governance programme spent 98.1% of its budget and achieved 67% of its targets. This was due to probity checks that revealed that most of the candidates for the legislative obligations were unsuitable for appointment. The Economic Planning programme achieved 88% of its targets and spent 96.6% of the budget. This can be attributed to funding that was allocated in the third quarter of 2022/23. Thus, the Department’s focus was recruiting in the fourth quarter of 2023/24. Furthermore, the Department achieved 100% of its targets and spent 100% of its budget on the Tourism, Arts and Entertainment programme. As for the Skills Development and Innovation programme, the Department achieved 100% of its targets in this area and spent 99.9% of the budget.
The entities form a significant part of the Department’s budget. The Atlantis SEZ landed R102.9 million in infrastructure investment via the DTIC’s SEZ Fund. The Department landed R229 million in infrastructure investment via DTIC’s SEZ Fund in Freeport Saldanha. They also signed the MOU with Sasol towards a Green Hydrogen Hub investment. Wesgro received R4.1 billion in committed investments, 50% from foreign investors. R3.1 billion was received in exports, and R423 million was secured via events and conferences. A total of 2 413 jobs were created through these exports and investments.
Ms Abrahams explained that DEDAT was able to support 628 businesses and entrepreneurs, 54 of which received infrastructure support via trading space upgrades and new trading premises. This was geographically spread across five municipalities. Four informal businesses received formal registration support, and 218 businesses were assisted with energy and water resilience queries. Over 60 host employers participated in three youth employment skills programmes. About R201 million was raised to scale future skills programmes.
The following slide dealt with assisted persons to access skills opportunities. DEDAT trained 9 697 persons across economic industries and job roles. Approximately 3 007 mainly female youth call centre agents obtained work-learning experience. About 335 people were trained as mechanical fitters and welders, and 306 persons received EODB training. A total of 215 consumer education awareness sessions were held which attracted 4 596 people. The Department also trained 33 tourist guides in cultural and nature-based niches. Seventy-eight people accessed digital and mobile literacy technology training and in retail, hospitality and tourism. The Department trained 1 322 people.
In terms of enabling an Ease of Doing Business Environment (EODB), the Department’s business helpline has received awards. Another important area is digitisation in the government sphere. The Department has digitised the liquor license process which will allow for a faster turnover time for the process of issuing these licences. As for DEDAT’s fund service improvements, seven municipalities were assisted with the digitisation of 15 business-facing services, which resulted in reduced turnaround times. The regulatory reform developed three model policies and two model bylaws, which will lead to a more standardised approach to dealing with film. There are currently nine national proposed bills and five proposed municipal policies/bylaws.
In terms of the preliminary progress against five-year goals. The Department is making significant progress. While the services are being delivered, the Department is ensuring that the services are delivered in accordance with good governance.
In the first quarter of 2023/24, the administration programme achieved 100% of its targets and spent 22% of its budget thus far. The Integrated Economic Development Services programme achieved 100% of its targets and spent 12.1% of its budget so far. There is currently no target set for the Trade and Sector Development programme and the Department has spent 2.9% of the budget in this area. All of the targets were achieved in the Business Regulation and Governance programme, having spent 20.7% of the budget. The Economic Planning programme achieved 40% of its targets and spent 22.6% of the budget. The Tourism, Arts and Entertainment programme has not yet achieved any of its targets, and it spent 2.8% of the budget. The Skills Development programme has achieved 100% of its targets so far and spent 4.3% of the budget.
The 2023/24 first quarter started off with a bang, with the biggest achievement being the Growth 4 Jobs strategy (G4J). The Department has also landed its JSE partnership that will provide support to the SMMEs in supply chain opportunities and financial support. The Tourism Challenge Fund was also launched to provide financial support and unlock partnership opportunities.
The Chairperson thanked DEDAT for its presentation and opened the floor to any questions.
Ms Nkondlo thanked DEDAT for the presentation. She asked if the Department could clarify the targets versus expenditure, particularly in the economic planning. Secondly, she asked if there was a number on investments which were potential jobs and if the Department was doing the same in other investments. Do they translate into any other jobs? Could the Committee expect to see results in this area in the next quarterly presentation? She was pleased to hear that the Department does support municipalities, but she asked if the Department would be able to provide numbers for the work that was done in the informal settlement economy.
Mr G Brinkhuis (Al Jama-ah) asked if the Department could bring him up to date on the Mitchell’s Plain area and if any programmes have been conducted in terms of economic opportunity planning in the fourth and first quarters.
The Chairperson asked what the timeline was for the Wesgro Sasol investment and from which countries they can expect the most foreign investment. In respect to slide seven, she asked how many jobs were created in this area. In slide eight, she asked how many of the people who received training went into permanent employment.
Mr Velile Dube, Head, DEDAT, explained that, as far as the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Sasol is concerned, it places Saldanha SEZ in a good position to provide land where the electrolysis is being built. It essentially forms a partnership between Sasol and the Saldanha SEZ where the green hydrogen can be produced. It is a piece of land that is committed in the MOU that is provided to the entities within the energy space.
Minister Wenger said that the Economic Planning programme is not a town planning project. Therefore, it does not directly relate to Mitchell’s Plain.
Mr Rashid Toefy, DDG: Economic Development and Tourism, DEDAT, reported that more than 80% of the people who complete the Department’s training end up in full-time employment. With respect to source market, the numbers can be provided but Mitchell’s Plains represents one of the largest source markets. The 1 000 Opportunities Project targets their interviews closer to townships. Three days of the interviews were conducted in Athlone, but the plan is to move these interviews closer to other areas such as Mithcell’s Plain and Langa so that the individuals do not have to travel far distances for interviews. The Department typically receives 2 000 to 4 000 beneficiaries, meaning that the rate of hiring is one to four.
Mr Toefy noted that one of the Department’s successful projects, the booster R-laps, is based in Mitchell’s Plain and has created many opportunities in the area.
Mr Joshua Wolmarans, Director: Enterprise Development, DEDAT, said that mentorship training is used to support businesses in terms of their development and growth. The R-laps support a range of initiatives in the booster fund.
Mr John Peters, Programme Manager: Municipal Economic Support and Enterprise Development, DEDAT, said that the business helpline does not have a category for informal businesses. The Department can focus on this in the future. Five municipalities have created 60 jobs in the 54 business hubs.
Mr Toefy addressed Ms Nkondlo’s question about entities, stating that the unemployment rate came down by six percent in the last quarterly job survey. It is the work done in the ecosystem that makes this a viable place to invest. The investors play a certain role in direct jobs, but it is the overall work done and job numbers in the regions that create opportunities and success.
Ms Ilse van Schalkwyk, Chief Director: Economic Sector Support, DEDAT, explained that the Wesgro figures jobs are associated with the trade agreements that are signed in relation to exports. There are targets that are closely monitored. It is doing well compared to last year’s targets and the economy is doing well. Foreign and direct investments are monitored quarterly by the Department.
Ms Abrahams said that the question around targets versus expenditure was correct. The targets refer to the fourth quarter. So, for example, there were three targets, of which two were achieved – which resulted in the 67% Business Regulations and Governance. With regard to Economic Planning, the target was eight, seven of which were achieved, resulting in 88%. With regard to the percentage spent, because it is at the end of the fourth quarter, it will be a cumulative amount. The 98.1%, although only one target was not achieved for the quarter, it was the probity checks.
Mr Fernel Abrahams, Acting Director: Cape Catalyst, DEDAT, said that no new jobs were created in the fourth quarter of 2022/23. In the first quarter, the construction phase in the Atlantis SEZ created 43 jobs. These positions were filled directly by people from the Atlantis area.
Mr Herman Jonker, Coordination of Industrial Development, DEDAT, explained that the number of jobs for Freeport Saldanha is measured by a pre-agreed model. At the beginning of the five-year period, the job counts were in the strategic plan with a five-year target and annual measurements. A model was also agreed upon. This modelling is done independently. In the previous financial year, the total number came to 944 jobs. This is reported in the strategic plan as their outcome targets for each year of the five-year period. The modelling is done monthly, more regularly than the annual targets. A GGP is also done for the Western Cape in the same model.
Mr Jonker explained that the investor pipeline for green hydrogen is mixed. It is a healthy mix between local and foreign investors. Sasol’s South African entity is looking at the investment in green energy in Saldanha. Some other projects are from the UK and Europe. There are also some local developers working on projects, like Atlantea, who are looking for foreign funding and local shareholders. Adding to this, a lot of the concessional funding and grant funding for feasibility studies and projects comes from the European Union (EU). The EU is making a strong case for its involvement in the South African green hydrogen initiative. In Australia, the Japanese seem to have captured the market because of proximity and also, around the back of the world, the trade route over the Pacific Ocean towards Chile. Chile is another potential high-production location. This made for the geopolitical shift that Europe is focusing on, especially in North Africa because of its proximity. The investors are not specifically from specific regions but most of the funding is from Europe.
Ms Nkondlo said that it was only fair that there be reporting done on the informal sectors because this data is important. When they question the prioritisation of the informal sector, they are told that such is being attended to. The Committee knows that a presentation was done by the same Department about the issues and challenges of the informal sector. If there is no focus to measure, there would be a need to track and see in the big interventions to try and unlock some of the burden particularly of those in the periphery of the economy. Surely, they would report on the business plans in the province. The province is moving ahead of other provinces, but it is still not able to address the tapping into the very grand intervention in informal sectors. She urged the Minister to track the issue of data in the informal sectors in the next quarter.
When considering skills development, she noticed that the smallest industries that actually are reported on in this quarter lack information about the green economy and infrastructure outside of the artisan-related training opportunities. Surely, the G4J, in this particular quarter, would, across the primary economic sectors, ensure the participation of young people.
The Chairperson reiterated her question about whether the timelines that the investments in green hydrogen would come to fruition. She was also interested in the timelines associated with everything coming online and the ability to transport and deliver green hydrogen that is produced. On slide nine, there was a R540 million saving for the economy in 2022/23. She asked that the different components that make up the figure be broken down to understand what the calculation is based on. As for the liquor licences and their online applications, she understood that this was a complex area. She sought clarity on how online applications can make this process easier. To her understanding, if there is an error in an application, the application has to be redone and this has additional costs. There are also extremely high costs, and many applicants rely on external consultants to assist with this lengthy process. She also asked for further information on any licenses that lapse.
Mr Peters said that the Department will capture data on the informal sector, especially in respect of the business helpline. Many of the permit-related issues come through the business chambers, which are the informal sector and the Black Business Council. The Department will in the future add a category that relates to informal businesses in the business helpline. He noted that many of the projects include informal businesses, such as the one in Mitchell’s Plain.
Ms M Ellis, Reto-Production Programme, DEDAT, explained that through the Department’s intervention, the City of Cape Town has re-looked at its Early Childhood Development policies. The Department has also resubmitted a number of commentaries on the draft mobile business policy last year. It also commented on the informal standing bylaw which incorporates and makes provision for mobile businesses. Stellenbosch worked on the development of an economic overlay zone to be incorporated into the municipal planning banners. The breakdown of the R540 million only assessed three interventions, one of which is the Western Cape Liquor Authority. There was also the Department of Environmental Affairs in terms of the Land Use Planning Amendment Act and then one big intervention of the business support helpline.
Mr Tim Parle, Chief Director: Digital Economy, DEDAT, said that the Western Cape Liquor Authority already had a sophisticated back-office system for their ball of paperwork before they digitised the system. DEDAT was involved with them in the 2022/23 financial year where they financially supported three of their eight modules. In the 2022/23 financial year, DEDAT funded the balance of the modules. It converted all the paper forms into digital versions and the process flow related to that. The advantage of this is that they can now track the source of errors, and the system introduces different ways for people to pay in order to further streamline operations. DEDAT was not concerned with the actual forms as to what they were asking, because this is all legislation. Overall, it aimed for a 25% reduction in processing time, and the results have been encouraging so far.
DEDAT does not know about the exact processes behind lapses, as they only assisted with funding and management.
Mr Wolmarans said that the different partners engaged with the SMME booster fund were organisations such as R-Lapse, Edgegrove, SAA Academy, Productivity South Africa, amongst others.
Mr Dube said that the Department would need to find the responsible support for the license lapses and then report back to the Committee.
Mr Toefy asked if Mr Jonker could give a realistic sense of when the green hydrogen investments will take place. He said it is clear that there will not be any deals closed until 2025 more or less.
Mr Jonker said that the timelines are stagnant because the size of the projects heavily influences these timelines. On the short-scale small projects, there are three pilot projects that already produce green hydrogen, one of which is already selling into the market for chemical use. A company already has a local pilot plant and is looking to get closure on the project in the next financial year. All of these are small-scale, aimed at trucks running on green hydrogen. On a larger scale, there is ArcelorMittal which wants to do green steel because of the green hydrogen, which is used in their fuel plant – which is approximately a thousand tons per year magnitude. The close target date for this is 2025. The major export projects that include bunker fuels onto ships and exports are 500-to-1 million size projects. The timelines for these are not clear because they are still in the pre-feasibility phase. The World Bank has concluded the pre-feasibility study, and they will be providing funding for the bunker fuels. The Department has received another R4.5 million from the Global Infrastructure Fund to take this project into the full feasibility stage.
Mr Nezaam Joseph, Chief Director: Skills Development and Innovation, DEDAT, explained that none of the candidates that offer support on the offshore site do inbound sales. The BPO is referred to as global business process outsourcing. This is a very complex back-office work which includes IT, finance, and hospitality, as in work in the airlines. For instance, within the tech space, the Department services Telkom facsimile in Australia, which is their biggest network provider. In terms of the IT jobs, when the count was done last year, there were over 600 IT-related jobs that were facilitated in the sector. They also deal with finance in big banks, which is very complex and requires advanced understanding. With respect to the hospitality sector, they awarded about 300 jobs in this sector, which includes 42 learners in Boschendal and other high-end jobs. They also support companies like Web Africa’s software development and high-end work. A total of 589 work opportunities were awarded in the clothing and textile space. This is interesting because nearly 100% of the beneficiaries that go through these textile trainings receive permanent employment.
In Caledon, the Department supported Truworths in this area. They exhausted all the available potential labour which meant that they had 800 employees. Truworths became the single largest employer in Caledon. The Department also supports businesses like Cape Union Mart, K-Way, Foschini, and PEP. The idea is to move some of these jobs back from India and the subcontinent so that they rest those imports. With respect to artisans, this year, the Department has since supported 200 artisans in organisations like Eskom.
The green economy is demand-led. If there is no contractual guarantee of at least 80% employment, the Department has the right to call that money back from the lead company. In the green space, new curricula that best suit the industry have been developed.
The Germans assisted with the development of a dual-vocational model. The TVET students do not spend all the time in the classroom for these solar-PV pilot programmes. There were over 100 beneficiaries in this programme. The Department has assisted the private sector, alongside some German companies, in the TVET colleges, with the design of the new Solar PV. A key constraint is that there are not enough people to install and manage these projects. The Department therefore needs to assess the potential demand and the IPPs down the line.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister, the heads of departments, and the officials who joined the meeting.
Minister Wenger thanked the Committee for the engagement and that she looked forward to the meeting in the next quarter.
The Chairperson excused the Minister and the officials from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
Mr Brinkhuis suggested that the Committee conduct an oversight visit this year to the R-Lapse in Mitchell’s Plain so that the Committee can see and support this community and show that they are interested in the community’s welfare.
Ms Nkondlo said she would appreciate if the Committee could request that the Department present the modelling that they referred to around the issue of jobs, particularly in the entities. She found it interesting as they explained that this modelling happens monthly. She also requested more information on the bylaws.
The Chairperson suggested that this could be included in the next quarterly presentation because it would also provide better insight.
Mr Van der Westhuizen reiterated his disappointment about the lack of information in the presentations. He noted that the statistics were vague and that the Committee should expect the Department to provide the necessary information in the presentation, not in supporting documentation, as Ms Nkondlo said.
Ms Nkondlo pointed out that the Provincial Treasury’s presentation was very valuable. She said that there is a government-wide problem with grants. The Committee does not have the power to dictate to other committees but there should be an element of cashflow projection and forecasting.
The Chairperson supported Ms Nkondlo’s suggestions. In terms of resolutions, she suggested that Mr Jonker’s discussion be shared with the Committee because, while it is very interesting, it is also very technical.
Mr Van der Westhuizen appreciated the DEDAT’s work in economic growth and job creation. He said that, if the Committee supported the reopening of the Saldanha steel factory, this could be a very important potential employer.
Mr Brinkhuis said that it was brought to his attention that the Cape Town port does not operate as well as it should. He asked if the Committee could have an oversight meeting at the port in the future for a better understanding.
The Chairperson noted that the feedback received from Transnet in terms of port efficiency. It was alarming to see how the demand for port and feeder truck services has declined. This creates pressure and expensive for the porters. She agreed that this would be something the Committee should look into.
She thanked the Members for attending the lengthy meeting and for engaging with the presentations.
The meeting was adjourned.
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