IN QUOTES | David Mabuza on employment, Sars' 'rogue unit' and the economy

26 July 2019 - 10:35 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Deputy president David Mabuza.
Deputy president David Mabuza.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

Deputy president David Mabuza appeared before the National Assembly on Thursday for his first oral questions' session with members of the sixth parliament.

Most centred around unemployment and growing the economy.

He dodged questions from the DA and EFF regarding the South African Revenue Service's (Sars) "rogue unit".

Here are six questions Mabuza answered:

Youth unemployment

Mabuza said youth unemployment was one of government's key focus areas.

“We have to find ways to open up markets so that new enterprises can compete fairly.

"We need to direct industrial funding towards our youth to provide the capital for the growth and expansion of their ideas.”

Public employment programme

He said the public employment programme was one of the most important aspects of the National Development Programme (NDP). It focused on enhancing the acquisition of skills, while ensuring workers received stipends to sustain themselves and contribute towards the economy.

"The programme is currently in its fourth phase and it has created 10 million work opportunities and paid out an estimated R64bn in wages.

“As it enters its fourth phase, the Expanded Public Works Programme will continue to draw a significant number of the unemployed South Africans, especially our youth, into productive work, in a manner that will enable them to gain skills and increase their capacity to earn income and contribute towards the betterment of our country."

Growing the township economy

Mabuza said one of the ways to address rampant poverty and unemployment was to transform townships into investment hubs.

"As a matter of priority, we need to strengthen our institutional capacity to enforce applicable laws and regulations to enhance the ease of doing business, prevent anti-competitive behaviour and minimise conflict in the township and rural economic spaces.

"Revitalising the rural and township economies requires focus on the twin objectives of investing in economic infrastructure and enterprise development, on one hand, and consistent application of, and adherence to, the regulations as provided for in our laws on the other hand."

Supporting municipalities

He said the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) had committed to applying stringent measures to ensure the auditor-general's recommendations are implemented through key support systems that will improve leadership and governance in the metros.

“Additionally, Cogta is supporting municipalities through post-audit action plans, capacity building, and strengthening financial and performance management systems. These are complemented by the already deployed district technical support teams.

"Through the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency, struggling municipalities are supported to accelerate the implementation of infrastructure projects that address the delivery of basic services, such as water and sanitation. This support also includes procurement, contract management, project management, infrastructure maintenance and the overall institutional capacity to roll out key developmental infrastructure."

Northern Cape drought

Mabuza said the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development had set aside a relief funding package to assist the agriculture industry in the Northern Cape, Free State and Eastern Cape.

"In cases of drought, municipal and district agricultural offices guide farmers in terms of legislated processes relating to support, as outlined in the Disaster Management Act, 2002. This act stipulates that provinces and municipalities must set aside a percentage or reprioritise their budgets to address the disaster in terms of relief and recovery.

"When this percentage has been exhausted, the province or municipality may access funds from the National Revenue Fund, which is managed by National Treasury, through the National Disaster Management Centre, housed at the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs to deal with all disasters."

"Rogue unit"

He said the Sars' "rogue unit" matter was before the courts and he could not comment on its legality.

"It will be premature or wrong for us to start talking about a matter that is before the courts. Let us allow the courts to finalise the matter without us talking about it and our views."

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