Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makhura,
Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Cllr Mzwandile Masina,
Chairperson of Akani Properties, Mr Zamani Letjane,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are gathered here this morning not only to officially open this magnificent hotel, but also to celebrate the value of hope and tenacity.
For much of this year, the world has borne the social and economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.
South Africa has not been spared.
Our economy has been plunged into turmoil, people have lost their jobs and many promising investments have been put on hold or shelved.
The opening of this Hotel and Conference Centre precinct is therefore about so much more than what we see before us.
It is a practical demonstration of the resilience of our home-grown companies, and of their determination to press ahead with developments that will have a lasting impact on the city, the province and the country.
Akani Properties, in partnership with the Radisson Group, have built a world-class facility right here in Ekurhuleni.
Given its proximity to OR Tambo International Airport, this refurbished hotel will tap into the valuable business tourism market and the adjacent conference centre will attract opportunities in the conferencing, convention and exhibition hosting sector.
In announcing the national Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan in Parliament earlier this month, I said that fast-tracking infrastructure projects – both public and private – is critical if we are to get the wheels of economic activity turning again.
It is vital that we do so to recover the jobs that have been lost during the pandemic and create new ones.
I am pleased to note that around 1,500 annualised construction jobs were created over the 21 months it took to build the hotel and that 565 direct full time jobs will be created once it opens its doors.
In this sense, this development is a lifeline to the people of Ekurhuleni.
This hotel and conference centre forms part of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Master Plan, and I congratulate the developers for completing the work within the Master Plan timelines.
Akani Properties, you have shown us what is possible when there is will and determination. As much as we seek to attract higher levels of foreign investment, it is all the more encouraging when our domestic investors take the lead.
In doing so, you are demonstrating to investors in foreign capitals that South Africa is a safe, competitive and reliable investment destination.
I have no doubt that having now opened your doors, you will soon be attracting business travellers, domestic travellers and residents of the city.
I congratulate the developers once more for having reached this milestone and for showing us the future that lies beyond this pandemic.
As a country, we are determined to build back better.
This is exactly what you have done here.
For that I congratulate you and thank you.
Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa