E Cape unveils economy boosting projects
SANEWS.GOV / 25 FEBRUARY 2020 - 14.33 / STAFF REPORTER
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane has unveiled a series of catalytic projects worth billions of rands, as the province accelerates investment attracting and job creation efforts.
Addressing members of the provincial legislature and invited guests during the 2020 State of the Province Address (SOPA), Mabuyane said the Eastern Cape government will this year roll out various projects that will lead to job creation.
The Provincial Development Plan directs the provincial government to grow its gross domestic product (GDP) by 5%, and increase investments into the province to 27% of the GDP by 2030.
“This is a strategic basis for us to fundamentally reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality,” said the Premier.
He announced that in the 2019/20 financial year, the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) signed 18 new investors, who pledged an investment to the value of R2.6 billion.
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), since March 2019, has signed four new lease agreements with various companies, all pledging to invest more than R110 million.
“In the East London SEZ, there are 14 projects under construction, funded through the R1.4 billion Department of Trade and Industry (dti) SEZ Fund to unlock private sector investment of R3.4 billion. These projects have created a total of 2 000 direct construction jobs in the zone and this is estimated to grow to 3 000 jobs by the end of the financial year,” said Mabuyane.
In essence, he said, by the end of 2020, the Eastern Cape province will see an additional 14 new factories being operational in the East London SEZ. The bulk of these will be in the automotive sector.
“An additional 1 600 people, particularly the youth, will be employed permanently to work in these factories by the end of the 2020/21 financial year,” he said.
He welcomed a multibillion rand investment by VM Automotive in Berlin. The investment has already injected R450 million for the construction of a factory to supply aluminium and steel blanks to Mercedes Benz.
Said Mabuyane: “What excites us even more is that VM Automotive is the first 100% black owned firm to participate in the Mercedes Benz space and this is a good development for the transformation of the auto sector.”
The next five years, said the Premier, will be the era of job creation and socio-economic development.
“We must acknowledge that the majority of our people remain spectators in the mainstream economy. The greatest challenge we face in our province in this 26th year of our democracy is unemployment - youth unemployment in particular.
“The plans we are going to present here today are aimed mainly at creating jobs for the youth of our province.”
Mabuyane said the R1.1 billion approved over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the Provincial Economic Stimulus Fund will be fully utilised to ignite economic activity and create new jobs.
“We are currently disbursing the stimulus fund to key sectors of the provincial economy, such as agriculture and agro processing, film, ICT, industrialisation, manufacturing, the oceans economy, tourism, rural and township economy,” said the Premier.
All three spheres of government are making a consolidated investment of R41 billion for the development of infrastructure in the six districts and the two metros over the MTEF, in line with the District Development Model.
This, Mabuyane said, is the realisation of what President Cyril Ramaphosa calls the One Government, One Plan and One Budget agenda of the sixth administration.
Mabuyane said the seven catalytic projects that were submitted by the Coega SEZ for funding have been approved by the Budget Facility for Infrastructure.
These projects are expected to inject R1.4 billion into the provincial economy.
The province has also concluded a significant land deal with Transnet for the Ngqurha Manganese Export Terminal. This deal will pave the way for the development of the Port Elizabeth waterfront.
During the next five years, Mabuyane said the province will build and complete 138 schools.
Already, 51 schools are under construction and will come into stream in the MTEF, with 22 planned for launch in this financial year.
In the 2019 SOPA, the province undertook to speed up the appointment 500 unemployed nurses and support staff for healthcare centres.
The province, announced Mabuyane, has already employed 333 nurses and nursing assistants.
“In this term, we will focus on reducing the burden of disease and ensure that the people of our province have an improved life expectancy,” said Mabuyane.
To achieve this, he said the province is going to improve the quality of primary health care services by increasing the number of facilities achieving Ideal Clinic status from 56% in 2019 to 80% by 2024.
“This is possible, particularly that in the current financial year. We opened eight state-of-the-art clinics in the OR Tambo District in preparation for the roll out of the National Health Insurance,” he said.
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