Gauteng enters "second wave" of empowerment

Monday, February 20, 2017

Randfontein – The Gauteng Government has entered into the “second wave” of empowerment which will ensure that black businesses and township enterprises become more sustainable by participating in the other sectors of the economy.

In partnership with key industry leaders, some of the radical measures that will be taken to transform the economy include:

  • Assisting and encouraging black firms and township enterprises to get involved in localisation and manufacturing initiatives so that they can produce goods locally and sell them to domestic and foreign markets. 
  • Setting conditions for big companies doing business with government to sub-contract at least 30% of the main contract to qualifying black firms and township enterprises in a manner that ensures their meaningful participation.  
  • Strengthening the supplier development programme to ensure that new and emerging black firms benefit from major contacts in the private sector in terms of skills and technology transfer.
  • Supporting new alternative stock exchange initiatives to expand access to capital by historically disadvantaged groups. These include the newly licenced Stock Exchange initiatives and cooperative banking institutions.
  • Working with industry leaders in every major sector of our economy to unlock employment and empowerment opportunities for all the citizens, so that no one is left out.

This was announced during the State of the Province Address (SOPA) in Randfontein- west of Johannesburg, by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, on Monday.

He said the provincial government has reached a critical point wherein 91% of its procurement budget of R46 billion over the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) is directed to empower black people, women, youth and people with disabilities. 

“Of the 12 000 companies that conduct business with our provincial administration, 10 000 of them are HDIs, including township enterprises.” 

The number of township enterprises benefitting from public procurement policy has increased three fold from 800 in 2014 to more than 2 800 by January 2017. 

“We have also continued to invest in economic infrastructure in the townships, including the refurbishment of industrial parks and providing broadband connectivity, establishment of ekasi labs for technology start-ups as well as training and skills development for township enterprises and SMMEs,” Premier Makhura said.

Since the start of the fifth administration in 2014, bi-annual employment has reached 317 000, thus breaking the ceiling of 300 000.  

“We know full well that in order to significantly decrease unemployment, we need to double this number and reach at least 600 000 new jobs over a two-year period from 2017 till 2019.” 

Gauteng has in the years 2014 and 2016 increased its spending on the township economy from R600 billion to R6 billion to reach its set target of 30% by 2019. The target to be reached by end of the current administration is 40%.

Provincial Economic Development Plan

The rapid implementation of the new Provincial Economic Development Plan which has been embraced by all stakeholders will be the priority focus of Team Gauteng in partnership with municipalities and social partners this year.

“We are engaging in an amazing work of direct interaction with business leaders at firm-level and through what we call industry action labs to unlock the employment and empowerment potential of key sectors in our province,” the Premier said.

A Premier’s Economic Advisory Panel which will be made up of economic experts, entrepreneurs and labour representatives’ will be formed.

They will advise the Premier and the provincial government on implementing strategies to realise its objectives of increasing employment, empowerment, exports and inclusive growth in line with the vision set out in the National Development Plan and the Provincial Economic Plan.

“The new future-oriented economy is taking shape. We will be significant participants in the fourth Industrial Revolution.”

In addition to this, the province will also was focused on increasing trade and investment with major economies in Africa, fellow Brics countries, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Americas.

Maintenance of existing infrastructure

Another focus this year for the province will be maintenance of existing infrastructure, the lifeblood of the social and economic transformation agenda.

Between 2013 and 2016, Gauteng’s infrastructure investment amounted to R30 billion, translating into an average annual growth rate of 20.7% – the fastest growth rate in the country.

“As we rollout the R42 billion infrastructure budget over the next three years, we need to ensure that there is a decisive shift to true empowerment of black firms so that they become more sustainable and more transformative so that they can contribute to industrialisation and local manufacturing initiatives,” the Premier said.

He added that the infrastructure investment must support the priority economic sectors and help to redress spatial imbalances in the five corridors to spread the benefits of re-industrialisation, employment and empowerment equitably across Gauteng.

The Premier urged all municipalities to continue working with the province to deliver the state of the art infrastructure, create jobs and improve the quality all residents. 

“As leaders representing all citizens, let us act in the public interest by resisting the temptation to assert authority by stopping projects…Let us work together regardless of which party runs which government, to rollout infrastructure projects that are beneficial to all our citizens.”

Infrastructure projects in focus include public transport and logistics, mega human settlements, renewable energy, ICT and Broadband, water and sanitation, health infrastructure as well as new schools.

The long awaited construction of mega human settlements and new cities will commence this year with 31 new mega human settlements. Both public and private sector partnerships will start in April in different corridors. This will mobilise and unlock huge public and private investment at a level unprecedented in post-apartheid history. - SAnews.gov.za

 

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