Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) from Mamelodi have benefitted to the tune of least R1 billion during the construction phase of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
This is according to Gauteng Premier David Makhura who was delivering the State of the Province Address (SOPA) on Monday.
The Premier added that thousands of permanent jobs have also been created through the automotive SEZ.
“The construction of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ amid the pandemic demonstrates our sense of urgency and the kind of emergency response required to deal with the economic challenges.
“I am happy to give an update that there are 12 component manufacturers which are already operating in the Tshwane SEZ while construction work is continuing. I am pleased to announce that in line with the commitment we made in the last SOPA, 3440 permanent jobs have been created, exceeding the target of 3288 jobs,” he said.
Makhura added that billions of rands in investment commitments have been made for the Vaal River SEZ and West Rand Agri SEZ while construction continues at the OR Tambo SEZ.
“A major new development regarding the Vaal River SEZ is the R45 billion commitment by local investors at the October 2021 Sedibeng Investment Conference [and] all the four municipalities in the district have collectively made land available for this SEZ development.
“The construction of the next phase of OR Tambo SEZ remains on track, albeit with challenges. We are engaging our anchor tenants…to consider expanding their portfolio of investment to grow the economy and create more job opportunities.
“A new major development to report towards the realisation of the West Rand Agri-SEZ is the commitment by Maximum Group to invest R20 billion in an agri-processing hub and industrial park,” he said.
The Premier told the legislature that the provincial government has collaborated with the Presidency to establish a project management office (PMO) for the development of the Lanseria Smart City.
He said Lanseria is being earmarked as a hi-tech SEZ.
“The main focus of the PMO is to drive the implementation of the master plan by focusing on two critical areas, namely; securing sufficient land and ensuring acceleration of bulk infrastructure investment which will unlock R85 billion worth of private sector investment.
“Lanseria will be a hub of the digital technology and services corridor, anchored by the new hi-tech SEZ in Lanseria.”
Makhura added that a global business services SEZ is also in the wings at Nasrec.
Turning focus to infrastructure development, Makhura raised concern about “challenges” in the delivery of infrastructure over the past two years.
“The work on infrastructure projects has not only been affected by COVID-19 lockdowns but there has also been a variety of issues these include the continuous stoppages by people claiming to be business forums demanding 30%, which is impeding good work of and progress on these projects.
“The other challenge has been the capacity of the Department of Infrastructure as the implementing agent for most social infrastructure projects. This has been compounded by the allegations of corruption levelled against senior managers in the departments of infrastructure and health,” he said.
Makhura said as a result, the provincial government will be working with “a greater sense of urgency” towards the delivery of delayed infrastructure project.
“The focus will entail the completion of incomplete projects and the acceleration of the completion of new infrastructure projects across all regions. We will ensure that departments take full responsibility for the maintenance. All our infrastructure projects must be delivered on time and at cost.
“The delivery of infrastructure requires a war room approach which will bring critical role players in one room to deal with efficiencies, delivery and create partnerships. Should any of the implementing agents fail to deliver on time and on budget, I will not hesitate to replace them with agencies that will deliver on time and on budget,” he said.
Prior to the pandemic, billions of rands had been invested in infrastructure.
“Between 2014 and 2019, we invested R53 billion in social and economic infrastructure, which contributed to the creation of almost 120000 jobs. [The] social sector created 15 152 jobs, while the infrastructure sector yielded 6 909 job opportunities
According to Makhura, at least 10 581 work opportunities were created through Gauteng municipalities through social, infrastructure and environment programmes during the pandemic.
“Infrastructure investment has been a key catalyst for the growth of our economy and improvement in QoL [quality of life] and the global competitiveness of Gauteng. Investing in infrastructure will result in creating efficiencies in the economy and ensuring economic growth and employment creation,” he said.