He said PRET was formed by a group of people who realised that if they got together and unite behind a common purpose they would be strong.
Economic development MEC Eric Kholwane has referred to the existence of the Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) group as something of help to government.
He said being ordinary people didn’t mean “folding your arms and not assist your own government to achieve the same goal you are chasing”.
He said PRET is a Section 21 organisation – meaning it is a non profit organisation – and not a political party and that it was formed for young people “who are unemployed” and “who decided to come together and say ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ and organised themselves and come out together as a formidable force,” Kholwane explained.
He was addressing journalists at the government complex in Mbombela Wednesday evening this week.
The briefing at the legislature boardroom was meant to give feedback to journalists as well as PRET members who were bussed in by their leaders – Themba Sgudla and Sunday Mathebula – to come fill the boardroom after their leaders, Kholwane and Kusile managers had a meeting in Premier David Mabuza’s on the Wednesday.
In the meeting, Kusile power station managers agreed to offer 10 000 jobs to the people of eMalahleni in their response to the group’s memorandum submitted a week ago during a march by PRET.
“I must say that since their formation as government they have strengthened us because more often when you speak, people they don’t take you serious but now because they know and they hear you as an organised group they respond faster and people begin to take government seriously,” the MEC said.
He said they have been having memorandums of understanding (MoU) with companies to empower and get more and more young people to be active players in the economy but there have been difficulties on the side of these corporates to honour the pledge.
“But we are hoping now that we are going to have MoUs with a clear, achievable and deliverable goals,” he said.
They have been allocated the office space to run the non-profit organisation.
The leaders of the Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) group in Mpumalanga run it from a government office.
The government office accommodates the clerk of PRET President Themba Sgudla and as well as that of its secretary-general Sunday Mathebula.
The office is situated in Klipfontein – on the corner of Rosemead and Ryan roads, Hans Strydom Avenue, the address that the organisation uses in its letterheads – a suburb in south east of the eMalahleni city.
This is one of the satellite offices of Mpumalanga MEC Eric Kholwane’s provincial economic development department in the Nkangala district.
The four clerks – called administrators – have been there to assist Sgudla and Mathebula run the organisation since April 2017, provided with three office rooms inside the Midlands Centre building.
The clerks of the two eMalahleni activists use government internet, phones, papers and photocopy machines to have the organisation running across the province of Mpumalanga.
The organisation was formed to give young people access to economic development opportunities and was registered with CIPRO in May 2017 as a private company – controlled by Sgudla, Mathebula and Ian Ross Dunn.
Kholwane’s spokesman Letshela Jonas didn’t answer his phone on Wednesday morning but he did leave a reply message: “I’m not available at the moment, and will get back to you soon”.
Sgudla said they run PRET from government offices because this is “a government endorsed initiative”.
“You must remember that we’ve got a memorandum of agreement with the department [economic development] that we will be operating in all their offices,” he said.
“Our mandate was given by the Premier of the province [DD Mabuza] to unite all these formations into one and implement radical economic transformation and assist the youth with employment, you see,” the businessman said to the reporter over the phone.
He said through this they have been able to open gates for young people to get employed in their thousands, by marching to big corporates and putting memorandums of demands on the table, since their launch in March 2017.
He had to leave the meeting in a huff as community members organised by the group began booing him.
Ehlanzeni ANC leader Ngrayi Ngwenya last week suffered serious humiliation in a community meeting organised by the Practical Radical Economic Transformation (PRET) when he was refused the platform to address the community members.
In a video clip sent to 013NEWS over the weekend, Themba Sgudla, who is PRET leader and who was apparently the chairperson of the community meeting, is seen telling the community members that he would now give Ngwenya, as ANC chairman in the region, the stage to welcome the community members however community members refused.
As the ANC strongman exits the building PRET secretary Sunday Mathebula can been seen laughing.
The meeting, which took place at the Driekoppies community hall in Nkomazi, Hlanzeni region, was organised by PRET for economic development MEC Eric Kholwane to address the people about economic opportunities in the Mpumalanga province.
The community booed Ngwenya, asking him to leave. He left in a huff after which Kholwane addressed the meeting.
The concern over the lack of progress in funded youth businesses comes just weeks after Premier David Mabuza launched the Mpumalanga Enterprise Development Fund to assist small businesses, especially those being started and owned by young people.
Economic Development MEC Eric Kholwane says he has noticed that a majority of those young people which they find do not get anywhere with their businesses.
Kholwane was in the Standerton township of Sakhile, conducting fact-finding visits.
Kholwane raised serious concerns about young people’s businesses that do not get anywhere despite receiving funds from the government, Mpumalanga News reports
“Youths are expected to use the money to grow their business,” the MEC said.
“I have noticed that these days young people start their own business but fail to sustain them. Such things need to be addressed,” Kholwane said.
Three weeks ago, Premier David Mabuza launched the Mpumalanga Enterprise Development Fund to setting aside R300 million for small businesses and growing young farmers.
Kholwane said it will be important that the challenges in sustaining businesses of funded youths are addressed.
“As a department we are not providing a social grant, we are funding businesses. The funds are not social grants. Youths are expected to use the money to grow their business, and it is important to start a sustainable business,” he said.