Address by Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, The Hilton Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg
17 Mar 2011
His Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Honourable Representatives of the different embassies
Honourable Members of the Executive Council
Ladies and gentlemen
As the Premier of Gauteng it is my honour and my privilege to welcome you all to Gauteng, the Gateway province.
The significance of this gathering cannot be overemphasised. It comes at the time when Africa is undergoing great and hitherto unknown socio-economic and political transformation. The gathering today comes too, in the aftermath of the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup by South Africa. Surely, the hosting of this eventwent a long way in boosting the confidence of not only South Africa, but of the African continent as a whole. Our detractors would not reconcile with the fact that an African country was able to host a successful FIFA World Cup –the most lucrative tournament ever. The event itself transcended boundaries and built bridges between peoples and cultures of the world, and more than anything else, epitomized the warmth of our peoples.
And true to the spirit of our pay-off line “Gauteng - it starts here”, the kick-off to the 2010 FIFA World Cup started in Gauteng and closed in Gauteng. And as the saying goes in Gauteng, you can play anywhere else, but you can only win in Gauteng – ask Ike Casillas and his triumphant Spanish team, they would not agree with you more.
The phrase “It all starts here,” is also significant in the deepest historical sense possible with respect to the human race.Every person in the world is ultimately an African, because science continues to prove that Africa is the Cradle of Humankind.
Gauteng is the home to the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which in April last year produced the most recently assigned new species of human ancestor, which has been called Australopithecus sediba.
We will always show the warmth of heart to everybody who come to Gauteng for we are really brothers and sisters united by our common ancestry dating back hundreds of thousands of years. We say Welcome Home to the Cradle of Humankind.
Honourable members of the diplomatic corps,
I am delighted to state that the FIFA 2010 World Cup was not only about establishing winners in sport, but was also about establishing business and trade platforms that allowed all to be winners. The opportunities created were not only used to reinforce existing trade relations, but new trade relations were also forged for the mutual benefit of all parties concerned.
The province’s name Gauteng is the Sotho word for “the place of gold”, a reference to the largest gold reef ever discovered in the world. As you would all by now know, this discovery led to the rapid growth of the most economically significant city on the entire African continent. Although the Gauteng province is the smallest province in South Africa in terms of land area, it has the largest population and it is today, the third largest economy in Africa, following South Africa as a whole and then Egypt.
The country receives visitors not only for sport but for a vast range of tourists who come to our country for its superb natural beauty, wildlife, coastlines and beaches, visiting friends and relatives and even shopping. Sometimes these aspects of tourism are overlooked, but tourism has been estimated to contribute 12% of the South African GDP. And tourism continue to play a major role in the economic development of Gauteng.
The Gauteng Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) identifies strategic priority areas to ensure that our slogan: Kuyasheshwa: Gauteng working Better for Job Creation, is realised.
The drive to achieve the strategic objective of building a growing and inclusiveeconomy that creates jobs is encapsulated in the Gauteng Employment, Growth and Development Strategy, (GEGDS). This strategy is aligned to the New Growth Path to obviate jobless growth, experienced in the past years.
The strategy acknowledges that the Gauteng provincial economy has grown in the past as a result of the natural mineral endowments. This has over time stimulated the manufacturing and the services sector in the economy. However, affected by global comparative and competitive factors, the Gauteng province and the country as a whole would need to relook at sectors that would create jobs, stimulate economic growth and development and contribute towards export growth such as:
- Metals and minerals beneficiation
- Clothing and textiles
- Leather and footwear
- Tooling and foundries
- Business process outsourcing
- Transport and capital equipment; Capital equipment
- Tourism and
- The Green Economy and alternative energy.
The emphasis is that Gauteng envisages that the economy will need to shift, as rapidly as possible, to an endogenous economic growth trajectory that is based on innovation, green growth and inclusivity.
In terms of innovation, the area of knowledge economy through investments in education and training in science and technology is also central. However, innovation should also be seen as doing things differently and creatively to achieve results.
Thestrategy is informed by key drivers to ensure its success. Some of the greater emphasis on the strategy are in areas such as:
- The imperative of easing the cost of doing business in the province
In order to promote both domestic and foreign direct investment, the province has conducted a business environment assessment and the findings of the report will assist us in clearing some of the burdens.
Additionally, the area of overlapping between the regulatory; marketing and tourism; and, trade and investment agencies has always been a challenge. Through the process of reconfiguration, the province is working on streamlining agencies such as the Gauteng Economic Development Agency (GEDA), Gauteng Enterprise Propellor (GEP), Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA), the Blue IQ, and Innovation Hub etc to create a consolidated and clear point of entry for investment, trade and development engagements.
- Support to cooperatives and informal Business
The approach in this case will ensure that marginalised communities are mobilised and organised to be part of the mainstream economy. In the agricultural sector for example the province has invested in cooperatives of farming communities.
This is in the context of the Maize Triangle revival plan, which is a rural economic development initiative that targets grain food production through complementing input supplies, mechanisation, marketing and agro-processing. It is an area the province would really like to share best practice with the region as part of its rural development strategy.
- Facilitating the creation of labor absorbing sector employment
This is a sensitive area particularly in the regional context in relation to apartheid labour laws and the brutal migrant cheap labour system. The economy of Gauteng was at the heart of this system. The province, however, is in the process of creating a new economy with the region through mobilisation of capacity, capabilities, investment and trade opportunities. The emphasis is on creating opportunities for new entrants into the job market and enhancement of the manufacturing base through industrial products beneficiation.
The value chain intervention in the region could facilitate enormous regional economies of scale and global competitiveness. Some of the critical areas and industry of focus will be: Tourism and Leisure, Agriculture and agro-processing, Food Beverages, Textile, Furniture and paper products, Green Economy (Solar Water heating Production and Environmental Rehabilitation).
In terms of Green economy, the approach is not only limited to the reduction of green emissions or reducing the carbon footprint of Gauteng. The approach is to ensure that enormous economic value is gained by investing in green processes and products, which use existing resources in a more efficient and sustainable manner.
Honourable members of the diplomatic corps,
Allow me to say, that in South Africa we have been in the forefront of the initiatives to position Africa as the investment destination of choice. And Gauteng played its significant role in this endeavour. A significant element of South Africa’s foreign policy has been to promote Africa’s development within the global agenda, utilising the country’s global diplomatic capital to put challenges and possible corrective measures of the continent on the international fora.
Gauteng – a globally competitive city region
The Gauteng City Region is a constellation of urban developments within a radius of 150 kilometres from the centre of Johannesburg. These urban sections are intimately linked through daily commuting, intense economic interaction, and shared bulk infrastructure and services.
The region includes the major cities of Johannesburg, South Africa’s primary economic centre, and Pretoria, the national administrative capital, as well as smaller centres such as Germiston, Vereeniging and Krugersdorp.
Gauteng is the economic powerhouse of South Africa.It contributes an average of 33% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product. It is one of the most popular trade and investment destinations in the world, not only in its own right but also as a gateway to the rest of the country and the continent of Africa.
- Most multinational companies operating in southern and eastern Africa have their headquarters in Johannesburg
- The province provide world class services and opportunities
- There are many lucrative possibilities arising from a wealth of natural resources and almost unlimited export and import opportunities.
Gauteng is seen as the central point of international investment, economic growth and long-term financial stability of South Africa.
Most Important Sectors
The most important economic sectors are financial and business services, logistics and communications and mining. Key drivers of the economy are manufacturing, property, telecommunication and trade.
- The home of South Africa’s automotive manufacturing industry with well known original equipment manufacturers like BMW, Nissan and Ford having established their factories out of which they produce popular models for export
- The centre of the financial services industry with all the big four South African banks headquartered in the province and many other domestic and foreign banks have their head offices in the province, stockbrokers and insurance companies
- Home of the mining houses. Mining dominates the western areas of Gauteng and manufacturing in the eastern parts. Coal, iron and steel are predominant in the southern Vaal region
- The heart of South Africa’s telecommunications, information technology and media industries
- Centre of South Africa’s transport hub.All roads and railways lead to the province, it is home to the country’s main international airport and Africa’s busiest both passenger-wise and cargo, OR Tambo International Airport, and boasts two inland ports, City Deep and Kazerne, that are the hubs of an export-growth zone. These serve rail, road and air freight customers through the Southern African region. A new Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) next to OR Tambo International Airport is planned for development in the next financial year.
The Gauteng economy participates actively in the global economy, trading throughout the country and the region and overseas. Trade activity within the province constitutes a large percentage of the country’s total, accounting for 63.7% of national exports and 56.5% of national imports. Despite this relative success, there are still a number of fundamental fault lines in the structure of the economy.
Honourable members of the diplomatic corps,
All of us would recall that the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) was established in the early 80’s. It was established as the South African Development Community Conference (SADCC) and its main focus was on security issues and economic challenges exacerbated by dependency on apartheid South Africa. With the advent of a democratic dispensation in South Africa in the 90’s, the country also joined the SADC as an official Member State.
The region has an estimated population of 250 million people, with a combined market worth U$360 billion. This includes the combined economies growing by up to 7% a year.
As part of concerted effort to promote region integration, the SADC complement the continental (African Union) programmes and projects such as NEPAD through regional initiatives such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plans (RISDP).
In this regard, a closer cooperation and engagement with members of the diplomatic corps in the region would also serve the purpose of understanding the regional market, governance and socio economic cooperation areas for Gauteng.
Furthermore, Gauteng’s approach would be to tap into existing agreements and facilitate areas of cooperation with individual countries or provinces within Southern Africa or the SADC Member States. This would involve the mobilisation of stakeholders including business in the promotion of regional programmes and projects that impact on regional integration.
And, this then becomes a clarion call around which we should rally to determine the points of engagements with each other. Each of our countries have its own peculiarities and we should, therefore, then, not shy away from putting on the table what each one of us can do for the benefit of the bigger whole.
Let me conclude at this juncture by borrowing the words of one of the foremost painters of our modern era, Vincent Van Gogh, when he said, “the fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.”
Let us all engage with one another with the view of forming bonds that will create legacies for our own countries.
I thank you.
Source: Gauteng Provincial Government
Issued by: Gauteng Office of the Premier
17 Mar 2011
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