The Gauteng Provincial Government will in the next five years spend R60 billion on building and maintaining infrastructure, which will contribute to the creation of an additional 100 000 jobs, and facilitate the development of 50 black industrialists.

Delivering his State of the Province Address (SOPA) at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Tshwane on February 25, Premier David Makhura said the provincial government will upscale its Welfare-to-Work Programme to enable 100 000 unemployed young women, who currently depend on State grants, to graduate and create self-employment in the township economy.

The Premier said having learnt from the impact of Tshepo 1 Million in improving the skills, employability and entrepreneurship potential of more than half a million young people, the provincial government is mainstreaming youth employment interventions into all 10 high-growth sectors.

“Every company in every sector that requires our support must create opportunities for the youth. We are using the lever of public procurement policy decisively to promote youth employment, women empowerment, and the growth of black businesses and township-based enterprises,” Makhura said.

Gauteng’s commitment to the Township Economy

Over the next five years, Makhura said they will step up economic empowerment programmes in Gauteng by spending R4 billion per year in buying goods and services from 2 000 township enterprises, and using the infrastructure programme to support 50 black industrialists, enabling them to participate in the 10 high-growth sectors of the Gauteng economy.

The provincial government will also support 50 emerging black farmers and 20 black agro-processors to help them turn their businesses into full-scale commercial agri-food enterprises; support 500 cooperatives in the care economy through an enabling policy framework that will enable government to buy uniforms, dignity packs and food packs for vulnerable households directly from cooperatives, instead of going through established businesses, and create 250 000 sustainable and decent jobs for young people.

“We will use the provincial government’s infrastructure programme to promote industrialisation by buying building and construction materials made by transformed South African manufacturers, especially those located in Gauteng. The materials for building new houses, schools, hospitals, clinics, roads and government buildings must come from South African firms,” Makhura explained.

From May this year, the installations, repairs and maintenance on public facilities will be done by artisans from townships.

Premier David Makhura outside the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Tshwane for the State of the Province Address

New Township Economic Development Bill

Following a commitment made in July 2019, the provincial government will in June this year introduce the Township Economic Development Bill in the Provincial Legislature.

The Premier said the new law will nullify all bylaws that inhibit, frustrate and suppress the operations of small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) and informal businesses.

This new law will create new conditions for SMMEs and township businesses to create wealth and employment as they grow and prosper, he said.

Increase export within the continent

In an effort to grow the economy and increase Gauteng’s exports and trade within the continent, 10 high-growth sectors have been identified, which will produce manufactured goods and services that must be destined for the entire Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

Building integrated human settlements

“Through the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, we intend to increase exports to the continent by 15% by 2025. In 2030, intra-Africa Trade should contribute to the creation and maintenance of 150 000 jobs, up from the current 50 000 jobs. We also want to increase exports to major regions of the world by 10% by 2025,” Makhura said.

Meanwhile, the province has finalised plans to complete all incomplete human settlements projects, including the Urban Renewal Projects in Alexandra, Evaton, Kliptown, Bekkersdal and Winterveldt.

Makhura said the province is working with the National Housing Finance Corporation, Indlu and Umastandi social capital entrepreneurs to enable township property owners to develop formal backrooms from which sustainable incomes can be generated.

“This will provide an additional 250 000 people with affordable rental and decent accommodation over the next five to 10 years,” he said.

The past 25 years have seen unprecedented levels of housing delivery in Gauteng, with more than 1.2 million public government-subsidised houses being built in the province alone, benefitting close to four million people.

The Premier said during this decade, the provincial government will ensure that there are no incomplete housing projects or completed houses that are not allocated.

He, however, warned that the provincial government has adopted the Land Invasion Prevention Strategy to deal decisively with the criminal syndicates and political entrepreneurs who are behind the illegal occupation of land across Gauteng.

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