Ekurhuleni: Rebuilding a people-centred post-Covid economy

Johannesburg – A solid post Covid-19 economic reconstruction and recovery plan forms the backbone of Executive Mayor Mzwandile Masina’s 2021 State of the City Address, anchored on the City’s 10-point plan.

The virtual sitting was live-streamed from the Germiston council chamber on Wednesday last week, under the theme: Ushering in an era of renewed commitment and unity towards rebuilding a people-centred post-Covid economy.

“The devastation of Covid-19 has been felt not only in our homes, but also in our national economy. Municipalities, including our own, have suffered the most severe losses in revenue due to loss of income by residents and business,” said Masina in his last address in office.

“It has become urgent that government at all levels begins to reconstruct our economy. Our onslaught in this battle must be a solid post- Covid-19 economic reconstruction and recovery plan anchored on our 10-point plan,” emphasized the first citizen of Ekurhuleni.

Progress made in implementing the 10-point plan:

1. Revitalization of the manufacturing sector

•Investment in OR Tambo International Airport Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
• Northern Precinct (R1-billion), currently under implementation with over 2 000 people working in the precinct.
• Tambo-Springs Inland Port Special Economic Zone (SEZ) (R20-billion) over 15 years), currently under implementation to deliver the required bulk infrastructure to support the development; and
• The Wadeville Industrial Revitalization Plan in partnership with National Treasury city support programme.

2. Implementation of the Aerotropolis Master plan

To date, some of the key developments include the Riverfields Development Project, Plumbago Industrial Park Development Project, Green Reef Mega Projects, OR Tambo Special Development Zone, Denel Kempton Park Campus, Ekurhuleni Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN), Tambo-Springs Inland Port, and the Gibela Rail Manufacturing Plant.

3. Acceleration of the IDZ/SEZ programme To date, an investment of R1.5-billion has been realized. At the conclusion of the programme, it is anticipated that 7 000 new jobs would have been created. Currently, the project is seating at 3 300 jobs that have been created.

4. Land availability for strategic development The City has successfully approved 11 bidders from the 56 council–owned farm release programme. Plans to advertise the remaining 45 council-owned farms are already under way.

5. SMME support through public procurement In the period 2016 to date, a total number of 935 informal enterprises were registered or issued with trading licences or permits. Furthermore, In the period 2016 to date, 121 SMMEs participated in the incubation programme on a three-year cycle basis.

The executive mayor of Ekurhuleni

6. Implementation of the township economy strategy The City, in its endeavour to encourage township economic development, completed phase one and phase two of the Etwatwa Industrial Hub in 2018/19 financial year.

7. Enabling public transport system

In October 2017, Harambee commenced operations with the rollout of eight buses on a route between Tembisa and Isando. This route was termed “Isando Industrial”. Two years later, Harambee operationalised

10 additional buses on a route extension between Tembisa and OR Tambo International Airport. As from March 6 this year, Harambee will be extending services on the route between Tembisa and OR Tambo International Airport through the introduction of weekend services, as well as public holiday’s services

8. Massive infrastructure investment

In advancing the massive infrastructure investment programme, the City implemented the following programmes between 2016 to date:

• Facilitating the implementation of strategic urban development to unlock the R300-billion investment pipeline. So far, an estimated R80-billion has been unlocked.
• Facilitating the implementation of the SEZ programme in the City unlocking about R7-billion. The City has so far invested R800-million since the 2016 to date in bulk infrastructure to open up development along the area of the R21 Corridor.

9. Promote localisation and production

The total procurement expenditure to date is almost R44-billion for open bids, as well as quotations. Of this amount, R10-billion of the procurement opportunities benefited women and R331-million went to people living with disabilities. Awards made to historically disadvantaged individuals amounted to R19.4-billion. In the same vein, youth-owned companies accessed procurement opportunities worth R5.7-billion.

10. Skills, capacity development and institutional development The City has appointed over 6 332 young people to the work readiness programme and internships.

In advancing skills development, during 2016 to date, the City increased the bursary allocation from R10-million to R100-million a year.

So far, the scheme has benefitted almost 9 000 young people and over R470-million has been spent to date in developing the local skills base.

The programme saw 202 companies benefitting from ongoing mentorship and training in the 2017/18 financial year, more particularly manufacturing, services, agriculture and construction.

The executive mayor of Ekurhuleni said: “I am convinced that realising this [10-point] plan will turn our city into one of the leading cities of the world.”

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