Makhura promises revitalised plan for Gauteng by the end of August

12th July 2019 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Stimulating the economy is at the top of Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s agenda for the first 100 days of the sixth provincial administration.

Outlining plans for South Africa’s most populous province in his State of the Province Address, he said a full plan, titled ‘Growing Gauteng Together: Our Roadmap to 2030’, would be finalised by the end of August, after consultation with various sectors and stakeholders.

“As the engine of South Africa’s economy, Gauteng needs to do much more to contribute to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s initiatives on economic recovery, investment, industrialisation, youth employment and [the] township economy. We must take a lead,” he said.

Under each set of priorities, there will be bold initiatives to deepen the implementation of the programme for transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation.

The roadmap will be publicly unveiled at the end of September, after which more details about programmes, projects, delivery targets and timeframes for the entire five-year period will be outlined.

The African National Congress- led sixth provincial administration indicates that a focus will be maintained on the five priorities of the economy, jobs and infrastructure; education, the skills revolution and health; integrated human settlements and land release; safety, social cohesion and food security; and building a capable, ethical and developmental State.

“Over the next five years, we will introduce special economic zones (SEZs), where feasible and necessary, to add momentum to turning [the] Gauteng City Region into a single, multitier and integrated SEZ,” Makhura added.

Over the past five years, the Gauteng economy attracted R199-billion in foreign direct investment and created 469 000 new jobs.

The province will use this achievement to attract new investments, such the Tshwane Automotive Hub, which is going to see significant investments and job creation in Gauteng’s economy as an SEZ.

Further, to drive its economic transformation agenda, Gauteng will focus on industries and sectors with “huge” employment potential, including automotive, capital equipment and rolling stock manufacturing; agroprocessing, food and beverages; business process outsourcing and services and information and communication technology; finance and retail; tourism and hospitality; creative and cultural industries; logistics and warehousing; and the green economy.

“Within 200 days, I will announce the total number of jobs each sector and company will contribute towards our five-year job-creation target, including the contribution of the township economy, cooperatives and small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs).”

Township business, including cooperatives and SMMEs, is a significant focus for the province.

“We believe more jobs can be created by SMMEs if they get appropriate support from the whole of government,” Makhura said, noting that the province had learned some lessons in supporting township business through infrastructure development and access to markets through government procurement worth over R20-billion.

Going forward, Makhura said, the province would target, enforce and set aside procurement spend of 30% of the provincial budget for township enterprises.

To finalise the province’s economic initiatives, Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment MEC Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa will present to the executive council a detailed plan about all the sectors that have the greatest potential for employment, exports and empowerment, including jobs in the township economy.

This will be done within the first 100 days.

This 100-day timeline extends to all Gauteng provincial MECs, each of whom is required to table detailed strategies to resolve his or her portfolio’s most pressing challenges, from preventing illegal mining to stimulating township economic development.

Ramokgopa is also tasked with presenting a plan on climate change and a sustainability strategy for Gauteng.

Public Transport and Road Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo will present a public transport service delivery improvement plan to the executive council, with clear targets and a budget for the entire term of office to be discussed with national and local government, as well as public transport stakeholders, within 200 days.

Infrastructure development and Property Management MEC Tasneem Motara, meanwhile, will present a plan to the Premier’s Infrastructure Coordinating Committee on how infrastructure can be leveraged to enhance job creation and broad-based black economic empowerment, working in partnership with construction and infrastructure businesses.

Further, job creation, economic empowerment and spatial transformation are the basis of Gauteng’s use of its R60-billion infrastructure budget. Makhura said it would be used to improve access to water, sanitation, electricity, housing and roads in deprived areas and the completion of urban renewal projects, in addition to the maintenance of existing government buildings, including schools, clinics and hospitals.

“Our dream is that Gauteng should be a hub of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills and a centre of excellence for digital economy breakthroughs, such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and Big Data,” Makhura said.

Finance and e-Government MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko will present a detailed plan on how to deliver 100% of government services on digital platforms over the next five years, while Makhura is preparing to appoint an advisory panel that will advise the provincial government on 4IR.

Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi will implement the national integrated assessment framework to ensure rigorous assessment of all primary schools, the results of which will be publicly released.

“This ground-breaking initiative will promote accountability and transparency on performance across the entire system and will empower parents to make better decisions regarding the education of their children.”

Makhura said performance and delivery agreements would be signed with all MECs and heads of departments by September, based on the implementation plans of Growing Gauteng Together.

“Within the first 100 days, we will re-establish the policy unit in the Office of the Premier in line with what President Ramaphosa is doing at national government level,” he concluded.