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MEC distances himself from social media advert

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The MEC had identified weaknesses in the EGDF system while under the control of the department

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THE MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, has distanced himself from a notice from his department that has been circulating on social media, advertising for applications for funding from the Northern Cape Economic Growth and Development Fund (EGDF), where SMMEs from the John Taolo Gaetsewe and Frances Baard districts have been overlooked.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Zandisile Luphahla, said that the MEC was aware that businesses were “irked by the advert that intentionally or unintentionally excluded them”.

“The Office of the MEC has been in contact with various business groupings, including Ecstacy Communications, where several attempts were made to resolve their challenges.”

Luphahla stated that the MEC had identified weaknesses in the EGDF system while under the control of the department.

“Unlawful activities were detected in the past financial year. 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 SMMEs, have expressed serious concerns on how the department continues to manage this fund amidst the lack of transparency and proper monitoring. The MEC therefore decided to include them in the selection committee of the EGDF.”

He indicated that the MEC had decided to shift the entire process of allocating funds from the EGDF for the 2018/19 financial year from the department to the Northern Cape SMME Trust.

“The department does not have the capacity to handle the workload involving the selection process, interviews, long-list, short-list and approving of qualifying enterprises. The SMME Trust is better suited to handle the work.

“In the quest to ensure transparency the MEC instructed that the Northern Cape SMME Trust advertise the long-list, short-list and also advertise the approved list of beneficiaries of the EGDF.”

Luphahla explained that the proposed closing date was July 31, where the MEC had emphasised that funding should be equally distributed across all regions in the Province.

“The MEC would like to state categorically that he was not aware of the advert that appeared on social media.”

He stated that the Office of the MEC was still waiting upon the acting HOD to authorise the NC SMME Trust to run the EGDF, so that the work of government can proceed.