On Friday the 8th of July 2016, the Executive Mayor of the Mkhondo Local Municipality, Cllr Bhekabantu Mtshali together with the LED Office, hosted the local business people at a business breakfast to present mainly the ruling party’s economic policy going towards the next local government’s term of office.
The Municipality led by the Executive Mayor intended to recognize the existing businesses and build a strong relationship with them. In his address, the Executive Mayor outlined the purpose of the event citing that the ANC-led Municipality wants to share ideas with the business community on what the Municipality can do to achieve a better life in the region.
This is the commitment to ensure more active community participation in local government. He also addressed businesses on the challenges encountered and advised them on how to survive with our local economic growth. Business people appreciated the opportunity to share their views with the leadership.
“We must collectively approach the reinvention of the economy from old to new by consolidating existing sectors and exploring new sectors of growth, and in this way build local economies to create more employment and sustainable livelihoods”,
Executive Mayor Mtshali emphasized. The programme was directed by Ward Councillor Lungisizwe Mkhwanazi (Ward 11). “Mantshinga” as the Executive Mayor of Mkhondo is affectionately known, accompanied by the ANC Mayoral Candidate of the Gert Sibande District Municipality, Mr Muszi Gibson Chirwa, Cllr VD Nkosi, the Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC), Mr M Lushaba, the Deputy Chairperson of the Local Economic Development Forum, were all excited to share the moment with the local business people.
Mr. Muzi Chirwa addressed and advised the stakeholders not to involve themselves in bribery and related activities. He advised against short-cuts as they are unlikely to assist in moving the local economy and that of the country forward. “We expect business people to explore the available business opportunities that enable them to participate and support one another. The more established businesses must be able to support and develop the newcomers in the industry”, Mr Chirwa said when encouraging the business people in attendance.
Chirwa cautioned against the leaders who, after ascending power, become the first culprits to engage in corrupt activities. An improvement in the government’s supply chain management processes was also sighted as a means by the ANC led government to combat corruption and make it convenient to do business with government. He further mentioned that intergovernmental relations must be effectively used to benefit local businesses including businesses owned and run by the youth. An opportunity was given to the businesses people to raise questions or make comments.
Some of the issues raised by the business people included questions on how will the district and local government monitor, detect and prevent corruption in the delivering of services to the communities. Mr Skwambane mentioned that the ownership of banks in South Africa is in itself a problem and their processes are not Small Medium and Macro Enterprise (SMME) friendly which need to be addressed. Both Mr Chirwa and Mantshinga responded to the questions and comments by the stakeholders.
In responding to some of the questions and comments raised, the Executive Mayor mentioned a few local business people who have played a very huge role in giving back to the community and also urged everyone to contribute to the less fortunate members of the community, as it is a great thing to do. In conclusion, Mr Chirwa challenged the municipality to co-ordinate similar engagement between government leaders at local level and the local business at least twice a year. Businesses must also support government programmes and the communities they serve. “Together we can achieve and do more,” Mr. Chirwa concluded.