Economic development should be centred around the development of township and local enterprises, says Gauteng Economic Development MEC Parks Tau. He told the Inaugural Soweto and Township Economy Dialogue in Soweto this week that the provincial government was committed to bringing inclusive economic growth to the township.
Tau said Gauteng had adopted the ‘Growing Gauteng Together 2030’ strategy, which sought to ensure that the province would grow into an inclusive prosperous global region. “The bulk of beneficiaries in this proposed economic participation are SMMEs and township-based enterprises and through this intervention, we will overcome the problem of people seeking to participate in economic benefit without participation within the economy,” the MEC said.
Tau said that the multi-billion Rand Ford investment to build a Ford Ranger plant in Tshwane was the result of a fierce bidding war between international regions. “The Ford investment was the relocation of their Ford Ranger manufacturing plant in which South Africa competed with other regions in the world for the plant and won. Production will begin next year,” he said.
South Africa had a discussion in principle with Ford that it should incubate at least 30 incubatees into the motor vehicle value chain that will be able to support the manufacturing of these vehicles.
“This is not only about attracting investment but also to say who in the local economy will produce certain components of these cars,” Tau said. “Part of this incubation also includes a Ford dealership to be allocated to black enterprises in the area so that they too can participate in the economy.”
He said it was critical that the right infrastructure was in place to ensure the economy was boosted and jobs created. “If there is not enough electricity, proper sanitation, bulk water supplies and roads, economic development can’t continue at our intended pace,” the MEC warned.
He also called on township entrepreneurs to comment on the Draft Gauteng Township Economic Development Bill.
The proposed legislation seeks to create opportunities for local businesses to be included in the economy. “If we keep quiet, the Bill will become a discussion about foreign nationals and not of township development,” he said.
“That is why when the commenting process is announced, we call on you to come to the table and inform us what legislation you believe must be implemented for your benefit.”