R133m later, aviation project still isn’t off the ground – DA
CITIZEN.CO.ZA / 26 JULY 2018 - 06.04 / CHISOM JENNIFFER OKOYE
The trade and industry minister should intervene in Centurion Aerospace Village ‘to ensure it creates jobs and shows meaningful progress’.
A project intended to create jobs and contribute to South Africa’s aeronautical industry has apparently burned through R133 million over 12 years, without yielding a single tangible result, and is still in its “conceptual” phase.
An architect's mock-up of Centurion Aerospace Village. Picture: Wilkinson Architects
Yesterday, the Democratic Alliance wrote a letter requesting that Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies intervene to ensure that Centurion Aerospace Village (CAV) creates jobs and shows meaningful progress within the next six months.
A DA delegation, including shadow deputy minister of economic development Patrick Atkinson, met CAV executives and department of trade and industry officials yesterday in a bid to establish why CAV had not made any “meaningful contribution” to the aeronautical industry since it was launched in 2006.
Referring to CAV as a “department of trade and industry vanity project”, Atkinson said: “The reality is that none of these jobs have been created.
“The entity’s executive management are nothing but glorified housekeepers who have spent millions of taxpayers’ money on a project that has brought no tangible benefits.”
He said the delegation learnt that a senior official had been dismissed after fraud and corruption allegations and added it was vital that “consequence management be improved to prevent further abuse of resources by unscrupulous officials”.
He acknowledged that R1.3 billion was CAV’s projected spend and said the funds should be made available only when the minister was “satisfied that adequate corporate governance measures have been put in place to prevent pilferage”.
Atkinson said: “Should this intervention fail, the minister must then consider redirecting the entity’s budget towards supporting small business players in the aeronautical and defence industry, who are already struggling to compete with established players in local and international defence markets.”
He said the sooner the government released the funding to help CAV fulfil its core mandate, the better, adding: “The ANC government’s bureaucratic mess is putting a spanner into the works of CAV’s attempts to capacitate South Africa’s defence and aeronautical sector.”
“Continued spending on a vanity project, such as CAV, by the ANC government, while South Africans are going through one of the worst cycles of rising food and fuel prices, is not only reprehensible, but speaks volumes about a government that has lost touch with the struggles of the poor and continues to pay lip service to job creation.”
Numerous attempts to reach the department of trade and industry yesterday were unsuccessful.
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