GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - "If we want to change South Africa, the powers and functions should not be the fear, nor the biggest debate. We need to get together as South Africans and decide how we are going to do justice to the empowerment of our communities to make South Africa work.”
This was the challenge by the executive mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality in his welcoming address at the fourth annual local economic development and supply chain management indaba held in Mossel Bay on Thursday, 14 November, themed "Utilising procurement as a lever to enhance local economic development, maximising citizens impact".
Booysen shared his frustration with the differences of interpretation of the required supply chain management processes and the fact that time delays because of administrative processes have cost the Garden Route, as a district, international investment of some R500 million.
The mayor addressed both national and provincial treasury and supply chain management practitioners when he said: “It is sad how we differ on interpretation. If we can resolve how we interpret the laws of the supply chain management issues, the Municipal Finance Management Act, I am sure we will do justice to the theme of the day.”
Mayor Booysen shared his frustration at losing R500 million in international investment into the Garden Route because the investor “did not have the time to wait for red tape”. He said he agreed with President Cyril Ramaphosa when he said South Africa should lay out the red carpet for investors and cut down on red tape.
"It is not happening. I am tired of seminars and of talking; we now have to focus on the outcomes."
The joint district approach, where district municipalities are called upon to assist local authorities in distress also posed supply management and implementation challenges, the mayor said.
The mayor also alluded to the national government’s cost containment regulations and said planned events had to be cancelled as a result.
"National Treasury has instructed all provinces to cut their budgets. In the Western Cape, it starts with R3 billion, so despite what we try to achieve, we are told from a different sphere of government to cut our budget," Booysen lamented.
The deputy director-general of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Jo-Ann Johnston, was optimistic about the future of South Africa.
"We have proven that we are resourceful, resilient, and we have amazing assets, particularly our people.
"Cape Town faced a water crisis and as a region cut our consumption down to 50 litres per day. Yes, we have budget cuts, but we still have budgets. How best can we use those budgets? We believe we can grow employment by 350 000.
"Growth will not necessarily come from within the country, or from the government being able to buy more. The focus needs to be on exports and on preparing producers and companies for exports." The Indaba finished on Friday, November.
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