Government implementing strategies to bolster provincial economies

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Government is working with provinces to develop high impact investment projects that will drive growth at provincial level, Deputy President David Mabuza said on Wednesday. 

The Deputy President said this when responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces. 

“We are currently working with provinces to align their provincial economic development plans with the broader goals of the National Development Plan, and to ensure that we develop a clear pipeline of high impact investment projects that will drive growth in each of the nine provinces, based on individual comparative advantage,” he said. 

Mabuza said government has prioritised investment in key economic and social infrastructure to enhance economic mobility and connect communities through t road network infrastructure in various provinces. 

This includes, among others, investments in bulk water and sanitation infrastructure; building incentives to attract private sector investment, and facilitating the ease of doing business in the provinces. 

“We are working with various provinces to grow the agricultural sector through targeted investment in infrastructure, which will improve the levels of agricultural production and access to markets, including increased productive capacity in restituted land. 

“Provinces are implementing strategies to support farmers through negotiating competitive export opportunities, and ensuring that emerging farmers are integrated in value chains of big retail chain players and leveraging on government procurement through tapping into government’s nutrition programme.” 

Mabuza said one of the critical measures that are aimed at revitalising and supporting provincial economies focuses on the implementation of industrial policy initiatives. 

“An important pillar of our industrial policy is to develop new economic centres through Special Economic Zones, revitalisation of industrial sites as well as business and digital hubs. 

“We currently have 10 SEZs that are in operation in South Africa. This has resulted in a number of foreign and domestic investors establishing new investments in these SEZs, with significant levels of new private-sector investments located largely outside of the main metro areas. 

“Work is currently underway to have the legal entities for further SEZ’s to be established within the next 12 months. Our goal is to ensure that we have a viable Special Economic Zone in each of our nine provinces.” 

Investment leads to creation of thousands of jobs 

The Deputy President said, meanwhile, that the largest new light-manufacturing vehicle assembly plant is being built in the Coega SEZ and that more is possible through the SEZ model.  

“I am advised that in one decade, investment in Coega has totalled to more than R9.5 billion, wherein 45 investors, both foreign and domestic, have come to the party, with more than 7 850 operational jobs created. This is in addition to construction jobs in the Coega SEZ,” he said. 

The Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme is one of the programmes introduced by government in an effort to revive township and rural economies by attracting investment and creating the necessary jobs.  

“Government invests in upgrading security and building infrastructure, which seeks to make these Industrial Parks safe and more conducive for business activities to attract investors,” said Mabuza. –