“We can’t build an economy that is only based in Johannesburg, Tshwane or Ekurhuleni. The West Rand should also be on the for-front of the Gauteng economy,” says Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Premier Makhura was addressing the first West Rand Economic Summit at Carletonville, which aims to table the regional economic and industrial plan of West Rand and explore investment opportunities and identify medium to long term priorities.
Makhura said the provincial government noted that the economy of the West Rand has been on a decline over the past years, as its main driver was mining and has faced a lot of challenges.
“We are going to revitalise the economy of the West Rand and Sedibeng and help it to diversify and contribute in all aspects of our economy,” said Premier Makhura.
He also said that government is going to use the summit to reposition the West Rand into a key player in the province’s economy and will ensure that township and local entrepreneurs play a major role in that transition.
MEC for Economic, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development Lebogang Maile said that the summit was about increasing and improving the productive manufacturing capacity of township entrepreneurs.
“Our intention is to facilitate linkages between township entrepreneurs into the mainstream economy as they are not trying to create parallel economies,” added MEC Maile.
MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy added that some of businesses they want to procure services from, the suppliers are not in the West Rand and Sedibeng and they want to train township enterprises to deliver quality and quantity on time.
In addition, in the past two years, Gauteng government has invested R6 billion in revitalising the township economy and only R800 million, of this is located for the West Rand. The provincial government wants to increase it over the years, so that more enterprises can grow.
In conclusion, Premier Makhura said the Mayor of West Rand, Boyce Maneli’s vision fits well with the Western Corridor, which is driven by mining and mineral beneficiations, agriculture and agri-processing, renewable energy investment and that the provincial government is looking into bringing tourism into the area.