Emerging businesses get bigger share

Khangale Makhado

Khangale Makhado

The Limpopo Department of Public Works is intensifying its stated aim of empowering previously economically marginalised communities by awarding more contracts to emerging businesses.

Last year close to 90percent of contracts awarded went to emerging businesses.

Delivering her department's budget vote in the Lebowakgomo legislature on Tuesday, MEC for public works Machwene Semenya, pictured, said that of the 687 contracts awarded last year, 617 were awarded to historically disadvantaged individuals.

Of these 576 went to women, 495 to young entrepreneurs and seven to people with disabilities.

Semenya also announced that her department, through its infrastructure development programme, managed to construct 110 schools in the province where scholars were previously being taught under trees. She said this has solved a problem that had embarrassed the province for years. Semenya said the department had also repaired 239 storm-damaged schools.

Other projects undertaken last year included the revitalisation of six hospitals, the upgrading of 33 clinics, the construction of 11 mortuaries and five hospital staff residences.

Though on record the provincial government had a property portfolio of 9000 properties, Semenya said they continued to discover new properties belonging to the government.

These were not correctly captured or were missed during the transition period after 1994.

She said they had embarked on a process of updating their asset register "so that we can know where these properties are, who is using them and what their values are".

"We want to thank the people who informed us about these assets that we did not know about.

"We extend a call to every citizen to continue to help us identify government land and buildings," pleaded Semenya.

They had developed a five-year expanded public works programme.

The province expected to spend R13,8billion over the next five years creating 391441 temporary jobs and imparting skills to 62745 people.