The year 2018 marks a very critical year for the South African economy, as both business and government strengthen relations to tackle ailing economic growth, unemployment and a strained fiscus. The City of Ekurhuleni remains an integral contributor to industrial and production-driven sectors of the economy. This compels the administration to work tirelessly towards pragmatic solutions that respond to the current economic stagnation.
Ekurhuleni has a long history of being the manufacturing heartbeat of Gauteng and, indeed, our country.
Conventional industry has served the City well, and continues to do so; but, as any good financial adviser or asset manager would recommend, a diverse portfolio is key to ensuring sustainability and positive growth.
As such, the City has identified 10 priority points (see below) to most effectively address the challenges it faces, by investing and drawing investment to where it counts. Every component and function of a city is underpinned by one thing – its people.
If a city does not invest in its human capital – the very people who keep its wheels turning – the returns on its other investments are significantly diminished.
The City has embarked on a journey of social transformation, to ensure that our residents see improved and impactful service delivery, with accelerated access to a constant provision of quality services.
The approach towards attaining this includes ongoing engagement with our communities, improved service quality, and increasing investment in our city. This commitment includes a focus on economic development and increased investment attractiveness and opportunities.
Our game changers
A number of mega catalytic human settlement projects have been identified and some are already in varying stages of implementation. These developments, undertaken in conjunction with our partners in the private sector, will serve as regional engines of employment and opportunity, not to mention provide housing for more than 100 000 Ekurhuleni residents.
And then we have our other economic development and investment game changers. These include the Germiston Urban Renewal Project and the City’s strategic urban developments (SUDs). These drivers of growth serve as commercial, industrial and residential hubs that will power the City of Ekurhuleni’s economy for decades to come. The operationalisation of SUDs such as Prasa-Gibela, Riverfields and Lords View is already under way and the buy-in from both public and private stakeholders has been significant. Clearly, we are on the right path, particularly when we work together.
Other immediate priorities that will have a direct impact on the people of Ekurhuleni include ensuring water and energy supply security, the roll-out of free Wi-Fi, unleashing strategic land parcels for development, adhering to the principles of good governance and fiscally prudent administration, as well as continuing the good work being done on improving the City’s transport infrastructure.
Speaking of which, the recent limited service launch of the City’s Harambee BRT system marks the next step in transport infrastructure provision in Ekurhuleni, with the longer-term goal of establishing an effective integrated rapid public transport network that will facilitate easier movement for all residents and visitors across the City’s vast and historically disparate area.
Work opportunities, easy access to public transport infrastructure and improved services lie at the heart of boosting the quality of life for South Africans, particularly the poor.
And education serves as an equally, if not more, important catalyst for bettering lives, which is why I’ve been vocal about the fact that the establishment of a university in the City of Ekurhuleni is long overdue. Our plans are well under way and I can confidently say that a university in Ekurhuleni in the near future is a certainty.
We aim to build a city that is responsive to the needs and wants of its citizens; a city that attracts individuals to settle down in and call home; and a city that is an attractive location and partner for investors.
Again, let me welcome you, and reiterate the City of Ekurhuleni’s commitment to working with all our stakeholders, in growing and developing our city, so that we can ensure increased equality and prosperity for all. Together, we can create a great city that people are eager to live, work and invest in.