The Gauteng provincial government is working at streamlining the process of assessing the environmental impact of projects in order to speed up the approval process for businesses and encourage investment, its member of the executive council for economic development, environment, agriculture and rural development said on Thursday.
Lebogang Maile said the provinvial government had slashed the time taken to complete the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of projects to 90 days from 24 months, and that this would be cut further to 30 days.
"Our main goal is to promote local and foreign direct investment, economic growth, job creation and to ensure quality service delivery for our people," he said.
"We want to develop our economy in a manner that takes into account the social, economic and environmental impact of development activities, including disadvantages and benefits.
"We want all these to be considered, assessed and evaluated before approving any development so that we can grow our economy in a sustainable manner," Maile added.
Gauteng province, home to South Africa's economic hub of Johannesburg, commissioned a study on the cost of doing business which identified delays in EIA approval as one of the major impediments for potential investors.
“We have taken significant steps to address some of the bottlenecks identified in the study," Maile said.
Other measures being undertaken include the establishment of special economic zones to mitigate against the high cost of electricity, improving government procurement processes with the introduction of an open tender system, and aiming to pay suppliers within 15 days instead of 30.