A newfound Partnership
A new partnership, formed between the Vaal University of Technology and the Gauteng Department of Finance, led to the SMME/Business conference at the VUT on 7 March 2012. The event took place at the Desmond Tutu Great Hall where several distinguished guests were informed about future developments and business prospects within the greater Sedibeng-area.
Mr Mandla Nkomfe, MEC: Gauteng Department of Finance addressed the businesses present regarding the interventions from the provincial government, Sedibeng Regional Sanitation Scheme and Role of Business in Sedibeng. He emphasized how communities should grow their economy and education so as to move from a welfare state to a self-sustainable state. He also mentioned that the government is investing in projects that revive the economy.
The highlight of the day was the unveiling of major developments and innovative plans that will involve the VUT, captains of industry, the private and public sector and the Department of Finance. These initiatives will encourage and assist existing and future budding entrepreneurs to develop and establish opportunities. This will in turn impact the region and also add value to the country’s economy and GDP at large.
The Business Forum at the VUT was part Stakeholder Engagement Series of the Gauteng Department of Finace. In these sessions, the MEC met with players in the financial and economic development sectors to discuss, in particular, how the Gauteng Department of Finance is using the provincial budget to facilitate service delivery, job creation, opportunities for SMMEs and infrastructure in various communities.
Sedibeng, a historically disadvantaged area, was chosen by the department this year and is being revitalized by the provincial government. Various projects are underway, which include the Evaton Renewal Programme and the above-mentioned Sedibeng Regional Sanitation Scheme. The department is always on the lookout for partnerships with tertiary institutions. One of the government officials present, mentioned that tertiary institutions assist the department with many things. One of these is the capacity in the development of research documents that they use to allocate budgets to the Gauteng provincial government departments. These budgets are then used to implement projects in various regions of Gauteng. The department has partnerships with other universities and is working on extending these to other institutions such as the VUT. A department of finance official said: “That is why we were at the VUT yesterday, because we want to establish a formal partnership focusing on several areas linked to our work”.
The event could not have been possible without the main sponsor, ABSA, which is one of the major banks in South Africa. Mr J de Kock, National Manager for Enterprise Development: ABSA addressed the businesses in attendance regarding the business challenges, opportunities and business banking. “Finance is not the only need in South Africa for entrepreneurs but access to it is the actual need” said Mr de Kock.
Caption for picture – TALKINGBUSINESS: Mr Mandla Nkomfe, MEC: Gauteng Department of Finance(2nd from right) and Prof I Moutlana: VUT Vice Chancellor & Principal(3rd from right) listen attentively as VUT exhibitor explains and demonstrates the model.