Johannesburg was well-positioned to seize the lion’s share of investment flowing into the country but crime, a lack of efficiency of government officials, unreliable electricity supply and poor internet connectivity were some of the challenges blocking its way to realising its potential.
These were some of the aspects that emerged during a high-level incentives policy and incentives development roundtable discussion hosted by the City of Johannesburg’s Department of Economic Development at the Sandton Convention Centre earlier this week.
The discussion was focused on designing and developing City-specific investment incentives to increase the City’s competitiveness, business retention and attraction of investment.
Several decision-makers, including officials of the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Treasury, took part in the discussion.
In his presentation, Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance Councillor Geoff Makhubo said one of the City’s major priorities was to make the municipality function efficiently and effectively.
“Corruption and inefficiency have no place in Johannesburg,” the MMC said, adding that he was aware of instances in which city officials were implicated in corruption. “Where these have been detected, those involved were dealt with appropriately.”
Participants agreed that to ensure the city remained one of the most sought-after investment destinations in the world, it would have to deal decisively with crime, said to be the main item considered by international investors when making decisions on which cities and countries around the world to invest in.
Participants also emphasised the need for the spatial reconfiguration of the city and adjacent areas, saying the current spatial setting did not provide for an efficient and profitable transport system.
Commuters living far from the city centre spend long hours on their way to and from work. Also, the buses they use do not provide for “drops” and “pickups” along their routes, denying them the opportunity to optimise a single trip.
MMC Makhubo said Johannesburg already had a plan in place to stitch the city and reverse apartheid’s spatial planning. He said the Corridors of Freedom would turn Johannesburg into an inclusive where residents would live, work and play in the same neighbourhood.