An apparent war between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and National Treasury has seemingly come to a head around the failure of National Treasury to hand over R508 million in European Union (EU) funding to the Employment Creation Fund (ECF), under the DTI.
The ECF supports projects and programmes that have a positive impact on job creation, skills development and capacity building and is therefore vital.
On 24 July 2018, the DA came into possession of a letter written by Mr. Paseka Masemula, the ECF Fund Manager, in which he claimed that there was a ‘plot’ by National Treasury to ‘undermine African Leadership and more severely to undermine and totally distort the programs of the mass democratic movement on eradication of poverty, unemployment and inequity’.
The DA tabled this correspondence in the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry for urgent discussion and the letter was referred to the DTI Director General, Lionel October for an explanation of how this letter could have been sent to the private sector.
Today, the DA has received a response from Mr. October advising that the letter is not an ‘official letter’ of the department and that Mr. Masemula will be facing sanctions for this.
However, Mr. October has failed to deal with the real facts that a ‘civil war’ has erupted between NT and DTI over the remaining R508 million to fund the approved 31 projects which leaves more questions than answers.
Considering how the failure to pay over the funding could impact job creation and given that nearly 10 million people are currently unemployed, the DA requested an urgent joint sitting between the Departments of Finance and Trade & Industry, which has been ignored.
The DA will continue to push for this meeting to take place as soon as possible to ensure that both departments can account for this money and explain how this ‘civil war’ has been allowed to take place for so long without resolution.
At all times, the best interests of the people of South Africa and especially the unemployed should dominate the work of our national departments.