Gauteng looks into reviving manufacturing to drive its industrialisation agenda
Gauteng’s economic focus is firmly on using the manufacturing to revive its industrialisation.
Having experienced a rapid decline from contributing 21% to Gauteng’s economy in 2008 to 11.7% in 2014, the manufacturing sector is in need of a serious intervention.
Although manufacturing absorbs the highest percentage of South Africa’s working population, with 4.8 million people employed in Gauteng, the province’s plans to create jobs are made against the backdrop of de-industrialisation over a sustained period of time.
From the challenges facing metals, rubber and chemical industry in Ekurhuleni, the decline in mining activity in the West Rand as well as the struggling steel industry in Sedibeng, the clear message is that the resuscitation of manufacturing is the kernel to re-industrialising Gauteng.
Lebogang Maile, Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development concedes to this reality.
Addressing the Gauteng Industrialisation Forum (GIF), a coordinating body constituted of state owned enterprises like Eskom, PRASA, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Gauteng’s Metros and District Municipalities, Maile said “while the orientation of the economy has shifted towards business and finance services, manufacturing still forms the cornerstone of the province’s plans to fight unemployment, poverty and inequality.”
The sector employs a total of 1.7 million people, which makes it critical for job creation especially for a low and semi-skilled workforce.
Maile was also quick to point out that the province’s plans for re-industrialisation involve charting a new course and creating new knowledge based and innovative industries. ICT, Agro-processing, Pharmaceuticals and Automotive Manufacturing are some of the eleven sectors and sub-sectors earmarked for government intervention over the next few years.
Sector studies and engagements with key role players to better understand and enhance government’s responsiveness to challenges plaguing various industries are also underway and the findings will be revealed in February during Premier David Makhura’s State of the Province Address (SOPA).
“We are working around the clock to fix the issues that have a negative impact on our reputation and perceptions about doing business in Gauteng. The province is at advanced stages with plans to promote energy security and healthy energy mix in the province. Similarly, we are increasing investment in transport and logistics infrastructure and ICT” said Maile.
Announcements about private sector led projects in the fields of renewable energy; automotive manufacturing and other projects that are linked to township economies are also expected.
The province will also host an Economic Infrastructure Investment Conference in March 2015 to coordinate public and private sector in energy, ICT, roads, transport and logistics.
Director: Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC, Gauteng Department of Economic Development
Tel: 011 355 8443
Cell: 082 494 2409
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS