17 December 2018


MPs give thumbs up to VTSD


Obakeng Maje

  date: 02 September 2016

Members of Bokone Bophirima Provincial Legislature across political parties have welcomed and praised the vision of the Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies (VTSD) economic development initiative, particularly in as far as job creation and poverty alleviation is concerned.

MPLs debated the VTSD plans this week, with a presentation from Premier Supra Mahumapelo. The Premier said the provincial government would ensure that the required skills are brought on board to ensure that this crucial concrete to achieving the prospects of the National Development Plan (NDP) is sustainable.

Mahumapelo outlined his VTSD plans to MPs on Tuesday.

"The province is predominately rural and marred with unemployment, inequality and poverty. However we came up with strategic plans to improve economy growth of various villages. We have North West Development Corporation as a body that has been assigned to look into village development plan for each village," the Premier told lawmakers.

The Executive Council (Exco) of Bokone Bophirima Provincial Government has taken a resolution to spend 70% of the province's budget on VTSD programmes.

"We have assessed all villages and looked into various ways of empowering them. Each village will have its village Chamber of Commerce. This will assist us when we implement Village Development Plans (VDP) and make it effortless for each village to approach investors to come and inject cash in their areas," he said.

This will allow villagers to negotiate directly with investors, Mahumapelo said. "All villages Chamber of Commerce will report to the provincial structure. We will appoint a team consisting of members from each district to form a provincial Chamber of Commerce committee. We are also in talks with NWDC and IDC to assist with the necessary training and financial support to the youth owned entities".

The Premier announced that the province would host a VTSD Economic Summit in November to discuss new strategic plans to achieve this objective.

The province would continue to put agriculture at the apex of its economic drive triangle, according to Mahumapelo. This will see women and young people benefiting more because of their current position of disadvantage.

"We have agreed with Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development department (READ) to empower women and the youth, Mahumapelo said, adding that women and youth were the most vulnerable groups in the society.

"We will also ensure that we support women and youth owned cooperatives. According to statistics, 37% of our youth are unemployed," he said. "We need to train the youth so that they can have the necessary skills to run their own businesses. Women will continue to be capacitated too. We need to empower more women and impart the necessary skills to them. We have more women in South Africa than men. Women continue to be affected by socio-economic issues. However, many women showed their pedigree and claim their lion share in various fields like agriculture; construction and others become successful entrepreneurs.

ANC MPL, Itumeleng Mosala, welcomed Mahumapelo's presentation. Mosala said the VTSD project would definitely improve the lives of many people. "The VTSD transformation is a fundamental issue that will address the injustices created by apartheid. Intervention is needed because the economy of South Africa continues to benefit the few over the masses. Poverty, inequality and unemployment continue to be the prickle and sow divisions amongst the people," Mosala said.

Economic Freedom Fighters' MPL, Thabo Sehloho, lauded Mahumapelo's vision. Sehloho said his party shared the same sentiments because the inventiveness will benefit the impoverished. "We welcome the notion and believe that it will be implemented. We request North West premier, Supra Mahumapelo to hire competent people to make sure this is possible," Sehloho said. He also suggested that government should take over abandoned mines in the province and make them operational again so they can help contribute to the economy.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Provincial leader, Joe McGluwa also consented: "We agree with the VTSD plan. The lives of the people need to be improved because most of our people live in abject poverty. We agree that the economic emancipation must be our priority."

Mahumapelo said for VTSD to work, the province needs to look at several other initiatives to skill its people. Young people continued to received training and mentorship through the Youth Entrepreneurship Services (YES). Another 450 youth have so far been mentored through the Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) in Matlosana.

"We must have a short, medium and long term plan on how we can improve the economy. We have opened 15 bakeries in conjunction with Transnet in Moretele, Mahikeng and Matloding villages. We aim to reduce unemployment in the province and we are in talks with experts to obtain necessary skills," Mahumapelo said.

Mahumapelo said they aimed to increase the economic growth of the province by 6% by 2019.