04 April 2023 Media Release: GRDM once again supports SMMEs in the district through their 2022/2023 budget

Media Release: GRDM once again supports SMMEs in the district through their 2022/2023 budget

For Immediate Release
4 April 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) took a decision five years ago ‘to put their money where their mouths are’ by supporting and investing tangibly in Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the district.

On Thursday, 30 March 2023, sixteen (16) Small, Medium & Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the Garden Route district received much needed equipment/products as part of the GRDM SMME support program. These products will enhance their businesses and assist them to grow their businesses, which will benefit the economy.

Last year, sixty-three (63) businesses responded to the call for proposals, and the following applications were received: Bitou – 5 applicants, Knysna – 12 applicants, George – 25 applicants, Oudtshoorn – 4 applicants, Kannaland – 0 applicants, Mossel Bay – 2 applicants and Hessequa – 5 applicants.

During his welcoming address at the event, GRDM Councillor Cobus Meiring, acknowledged all 16 companies that succeeded in this rigorous application process. He highlighted: “The GRDM invested a substantial amount of R350 000 in this project for this financial year and as a Municipality, we would like to do more”. Adding to these words Cobus said that the development of SMMEs in the Garden Route is invaluable”. “We are relying on these businesses to enable themselves to make a living and to go somewhere in life”.

Dr Keith du Plessis, Chief Executive Officer of Casidra, said that small businesses have been challenged in various ways over the past few years and with the economy that is staggering, “we all know that small business are the heart of the economy”.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen (right), and CEO of Casidra, Dr Keith du Plessis (left), during and after signing a Partnership Agreement that signifies a long term collaborative partnership between GRDM and Casidra towards the implementation of the Garden Route Growth & Development Strategy. 

Over the past 3 years, sixty-six (66) SMMEs benefitted from the programme to the total value of more than R1.6 million. Dr du Plessis highlighted: “These figures are an indication that GRDM is serious about SMME development. Well done with the excellent initiative – I hope this programme will continue to grow from strength to strength – we would like to keep on partnering with this progressive and excellent Municipality”. He also thanked his colleagues from Casidra that made the delivery of the programme possible.

Municipal Manager of GRDM, Monde Stratu, shared a congratulatory message with all beneficiaries and spoke about the importance of the business sector’s participation in the municipality’s public participation processes. Stratu reiterated that with regards to budget allocations in support of small businesses in the area, the municipality is now getting into the phase of engaging with the public. He said: “We expect from representatives and individuals in this sector to interact with the document and see what is allocated to them and what it is that must be done”. Adding to this, he stressed: “When we send documents out for public comments, we do not receive any feedback and for that reason, we believe that people are happy”. When those that did not respond, give feedback to GRDM after the budget has been approved, it makes it difficult for the municipality”. He urged all present and said: “It is your time to scrutinize the budgets of all the municipalities in the Garden Route and see what has been catered for SMMEs”.

Executive Mayor of GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen and CEO of Casidra, Dr Keith du Plessis hand over the products to all SMMEs as beneficiaries of the GRDM 2022/2023 SMMEs Development Programme.

Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen, during his keynote address stated that in this critical time with difficult economic circumstances, “it gives me joy that this event is a deliberate decision taken by GRDM together with the partners, Casidra and other the stakeholders. We told ourselves that ‘even if we have money, even if we don’t have money, with the little we have we will make provision to support our SMMEs’”.

Alderman Booysen also congratulated Casidra for receiving clean audits over 33 consecutive years. He said: “There is a belief in this country that when we talk about clean audits, people will tell you that “clean audits do not put food on the table”.

When addressing the SMMEs, Mayor Booysen stressed that South Africa must understand that not everyone will be employed by Government. Therefor “you as SMMs, must create employment – you will employ your neighbours, people who have passed Grade 12, people with skills, you as SMMEs will employ them and not just Government. Government must lay this foundation so that you your businesses can thrive” he added.

Mayor Booysen also spoke about the matter on how law enforcement, sometimes, remove small businesses from the pavements. He also shared his concerns that sometimes those business products also get destroyed in the process. He explained: “There is a reason for Aunt Sannie that sells vetkoek at a specific area. There are feet – people come and go”. And as Government, he said that “we regard this as the breaking of by-laws”.  Mayor Booysen advised that if a business is functioning well at a specific area which does not carry the approval of the specific municipality, the situation and business need to be assessed. It is therefore important for municipalities to revisit their by-laws to legalise business operations at an area of choice of the SMME”. In closing his speech Mayor Booysen said: “If we give you money, that money must take you to your dream, but not everything that you need for your business is money, connections and ideas also generate money”.

A SMME representative, Vuyokasi Melenie, shared a special vote of thanks to stakeholders and sketched a scenario to all present on how the programme contributed to their businesses. When Government closed businesses operations down because of the pandemic, it was a lot for small businesses – it came with a lot a strain and a lot of stress whereby staff lost their jobs.

Melanie Wilson, Manager for Economic Development and Tourism, who concluded her tenure at GRDM the next day (Friday, 31 March 2023) delivered the closing remarks at the event. She expressed her appreciation towards Mayor Booysen for his passion, energy, support and commitment towards SMMEs. She also thanked all Councillors who were present and to the Executive Manager responsible for Economic Development, Lusanda Menze she said: “Thank you for allowing us the freedom to do what we as team must do”.

The beneficiaries of the programme received a message from Wilson to carry their businesses for a lifetime, when she said: “May you get the feet, the clients and that your businesses will grow and excel. May your business not only grow for yourself and that you will not only provide for yourself, but that you will create generational wealth for your children and your communities. Continue with what you are doing and with your hard work, you will see the results in your lifetime,” she concluded.

Stakeholder representatives at the event were (FLTR): Lusanda Menze (GRDM), Clyde Lamberts (Department of Agriculture), Warren Marcus (Casidra), Melanie Wilson and Ald. Memory Booysen (GRDM), Dr Keith du Plessis (Casidra), Natalie Raubenheimer (GRDM) Paul Hoffman (WCEDP), as well as Johannes Jafta, Richard Dyantyi and Amagene Koeberg (GRDM).

Wilson furthermore expressed a special word of gratitude to the District Economic Development team and extended a special word of thanks to Johannes Jafta, Officer of Economic Development at GRDM, for his passion and energy and his skills to drive this programme.

Did you know?

  1. The stakeholders involved in the GRDM SMME Development Programme of 2022/2023, included Small Enterprises Development Agency (Seda) LED Managers from Local Municipalities in the Garden Route, Cassidra, the Department of Agriculture, WCEDP and DEDAT.
  2. Casidra renders project management service to Departments within the Western Cape Government (WCG), local authorities, businesses, non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) community-based organisations (CBO’s), academic institutions, other governmental agencies and international assistance institutions. As the Provincial Government Enterprise for the Western Cape Government, development projects are planned and implemented by Casidra. Its proven ability and skills, ground level involvement in communities, proven track record and sound financial record-keeping, reporting and auditing make Casidra the preferred service provider.