Gauteng Premier David Makhura has unveiled ambitious plans to grow the economy in the province, which he says will create thousands of jobs for the unemployed in the province.
Despite high expectations that he would make major announcements on the controversial e-toll system during his State of the Province Address on Monday, he pleaded with Gauteng motorists to be patient while he negotiates with a team led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on how to ease the burden of e-tolls.
Opposition parties were unhappy that he did not announce the scrapping of e-tolls, saying the panel established was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
His 10 000-word speech, which lasted for more than three hours, was occasionally interrupted by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members of the provincial legislature (MPLs), who accused him of misleading the people of Gauteng.
EFF MPLs also accused the ANC-led government in Gauteng for failing to deal with corruption, despite Makhura’s announcements that all tender processes would be open to the public and that no public servant would be allowed to do business with the government.
“If they are serious about fighting corruption, they should start with ANC chief whip in the Gauteng Legislature, Brian Hlongwe, who has been implicated in a R1.4-million tender irregularities while still serving as Gauteng Health MEC.
The Democratic Alliance has also called for the removal of Hlongwe as ANC chief whip before.
In line with the provinces 10-pillar programme of radical transformation, mordernisation and re-industrialisation, Makhura promised an injection of billions of rands into several initiatives around all major regions in the province.
He said his administration was planning to reconfigure the Gauteng city region’s space and economy along five development corridors that have distinct industries and different comparative advantages.
Makhura said the economy of the central corridor would be consolidated around Johannesburg as the financial capital and hub of the services industry of the continent.
Over the next five years, his administration would mobilise more than R10-billion in public and private investments in the regeneration of the Johannesburg CBD as the seat of the provincial government.
“Having spoken to private sector leaders, I am confident that there is an appetite and passion to invest in the revitalisation of the CBD of Joburg. We applaud the banks, mining houses, state-owned enterprises and other major companies that continue to invest in both the Joburg CBD and its financial district of Sandton.
“In strengthening the position of the Central Corridor as the financial hub of our country and the continent, we will work with national government and the City to ensure that it becomes the home of the BRICS regional development bank,” said Makhura.
He said the province was working with national government and the City of Joburg on a definite and concrete plan to revitalise the old townships of Kliptown and Alexandra, which are currently in a terrible and sorry state of disrepair.
In order to change human settlement patterns over the next five years, Makhura said the province was planning to built 140 000 housing units in Lion Park, Diepsloot East, Fleurhof, Cosmo City, Malibongwe Ridge and Goud Rand.
He said his administration was working with the private sector and the City of Johannesburg to radically change the spatial landscape of the Central Corridor, including Masingita city, Reitfontein, Waterfall city, Modderfontein city and Steyn city.
All these developments will have major socio-economic benefits with regard to decent employment and economic inclusion. The Masingita city, an integrated commercial and industrial hub, is a R3-billion private investment that will create 15 500 jobs during the construction stage and approximately 10 000 jobs during its full operation.
It will also contribute to the township economy revitalisation by supporting township enterprises and small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) in Soweto, Lenasia and Bekkersdal/Randfontein. The first phase of construction will commence in March this year.
Rietfontein is a complete mixed-use node with more than 8 000 proposed residential units, including commercial property, distribution and warehousing; retail and education facilities.
This investment is estimated at R20-billion and has the potential to create 17 000 jobs, during the construction phase and beyond. Waterfall City is the largest city to be built in post-apartheid South Africa.
The estimated investment during construction is R71-billion with, an estimated 100 000 jobs could be created by the project. The Modderfontein development will inject R84-billion into the economy of the Gauteng City Region and is expected to create 150 000 jobs over the next twenty years,” said Makhura.
Makhura said the provincial government together with the Ekurhuleni Metro and national government, was undertaking 29 industrial initiatives, under the banner of the Aerotropolis, to revitalise manufacturing, aviation, transport and logistics industries linked to the OR Tambo International Airport. This will dramatically transform the current industrial structure of the economy of Ekurhuleni.
“In addition there are also a number of unfolding initiatives by state owned companies that will contribute to the reindustrialisation of Ekurhuleni.
“PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) is rolling out approximately 7 224 new rolling stock units with a projected investment of R123-billion over a period of 20 years.
“A total of 30 000 jobs will be created over the same period. With regard to freight and logistics, Transnet’s investment in the inland ports of Tambo Springs and Sentrarand will also have a major impact in revitalising the economy of Ekurhuleni.”
The Tambo Springs Inland port development will have an estimated R7.5-billion investment over five years, he said.
“This project will create a total of 110 000 jobs over fifteen years. Airports Company South Africa, Denel and major private sector companies are positioning themselves in line with the imperatives of the Aerotropolis. There is huge potential for these projects to attract massive foreign direct investment into the OR Tambo Industrial Development Zone and the Special Economic Zone.”
Makhura said the City of Tshwane would invest R525-million to establish a Business Process Outsourcing Park in Hammanskraal. The park will offer on-site training, technical support, and incubators for SMMEs. The project is expected to create over 1 000 jobs during construction and over 1 000 indirect jobs.
“Working with the private sector, the City of Tshwane is rolling out free Wi-Fi within the City. To date, R150-million has been invested in this initiative.”
Makhura said the provincial government would mordenise and diversify the West Rand economy and revitalize the mining towns.
“The economy of the Western Corridor, will focus on the green and blue economy initiatives, tourism, agro-processing and logistics. The Lanseria Airport and Maropeng World Heritage Site will be the main anchors of the new city and new economy of the West Rand.
“We are working with the municipalities and private sector partners to unlock the potential of Lanseria Airport logistics hub. Thus far the private sector is injecting at least R500-million in Capex for the development of the airport, with over R10-billion expected to be invested in Lanseria over the next 15 years,” said Makhura.