Gauteng Premier David Makhura and mayors commit to work together to grow the economy, improve service delivery and address social challenges as part of developing Gauteng into a globally competitive city region.
This commitment was made in a meeting on Thursday attended by the Premier, MECs, Mayors, and Members of Mayoral Committee held at the Emperors Palace, Kempton Park.
The Premier and the Mayors acknowledged that the province has evolved into an industrial hub, financial nerve centre and technological heartbeat of South Africa.
Gauteng contributes more than 34% to the country’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and contributes 42% of SA’s industrial output and 63% industrial national exports. The province also contributes 8% to 10% to Africa’s GDP. It is the fifth largest economy in the continent. The Gauteng Province by land is 1.4%, yet it remains the economic engine of the country.
Makhura told the meeting that in order to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality the provincial government jointly with municipalities and the private sector partners are making three macro interventions – spatial reconfiguration, township economy revitalisation and massive infrastructure investments.
“We have to govern ourselves as a seamlessly integrated city region. We cannot be caught up in old ways,” said Premier Makhura, adding that Gauteng’s biggest challenge was rapid urbanisation.
Makhura shared with the Mayors the Provincial Government’s infrastructure-led programme being implemented in five development corridors.
Tshwane is known for the automotive, innovation and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). In the West Rand the concentration is on tourism, agriculture and solar energy while Sedibeng’s strong point is tourism, agriculture and agro-processing. Johannesburg is the home for finance, ICT, services and pharmaceuticals while Ekurhuleni’s main attraction is manufacturing, Aerotropolis, jewellery, transport and logistics.
Over the next three years, the Gauteng Provincial Government’s total investment in infrastructure development will be more than R44 billion while Gauteng municipalities will spend R94 billion over the next five years.
This investment will have a massive multiplier effect on the economy of the Gauteng City Region.
Gauteng is establishing a Human Resource Development Council to integrate and coordinate all skills development initiatives working with the private sector as well as institutions of higher learning.
Both the provincial government and municipalities committed to continue to support and revive the township economy.
The commitment by the provincial government and municipalities to work together will ensure that the huge social and economic challenges which include the significant exclusion of millions of black people in the economy, women and youth are addressed.
The Premier and the Mayors agreed to meet regularly and open lines of communication between MECs, MMCs and officials to ensure that the province and municipalities work in a spirit of sound cooperative government.
“We must work together in the interest of the people that we serve regardless of which political parties we come from. In serving the people we must never allow party politics to paralyse governance,” said Makhura.
Makhura said the provincial government was committed to pay municipal rates and services on time. He also promised that the historic municipal debt would be cleared.