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City sets ambitious economic growth target


The City of Johannesburg intends to align its plans and policies in a way that will enable it to achieve a 5% economic growth rate.

This is one of 10 points the City adopted following a four-day induction attended by the newly elected members of mayoral committee (MMCs), City Manager Trevor Fowler and executives of the various departments and municipal-owned entities.

In a communique issued after the induction, Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba conceded, however, that the 5% economic growth target was an ambitious one given that the Reserve Bank had projected South Africa’s economy to grow by 0.6% this year.

“We appreciate the fact that if we do not achieve this, unemployment will remain high, the youth will be out of school and out of jobs at the end of this term and we would not have made a difference. We want Joburg to be the engine of the country’s economic growth,” Mayor Mashaba said.

“We appreciate that achieving this 5% jump requires both government and the business sector to join hands, understanding that it is absolutely critical for us to achieve 5% GDP growth because failing to kick-start the Joburg economy has dire implications beyond Joburg’s own borders.”

The induction was aimed at helping the new political leadership – ushered in after the August 3 local government elections – to get a bird’s eye view of the City’s structures and systems to enable it to determine what works and what requires a review, and to “deliver services at a speed not seen in the City before”.

The MMCs will spend the next few days with their respective teams to discuss the way forward. These deliberations will culminate in broader discussions at the Mayoral lekgotla, tentatively scheduled for October, and at the Budget lekgotla, expected to be held in February 2017.

The following is the 10-point plan crafted at the induction:

A recognition by the political and administrative leadership of the political arrangement/coalition imposed by the electorate. This is necessary to help the City move forward with speed;
Running a responsive and pro-poor government;
Achieving a 5% economic growth rate;
Creating a professional public service that serves residents with pride;
Ensuring that corruption is public enemy No 1;
Reviving the inner city to bring people and business back;
Completing the official housing waiting list and getting it signed by the Mayor in 90 days;
Producing within 60 days a report on the number of completed houses built by the city and the province but not yet allocated or handed over to beneficiaries.
Fast-tracking the handover of title deeds to residents, churches and businesses; and
Using one of the public clinics as a pilot project to investigate the possibility of making health facilities available over extended hours.
“From the above, you may deduce that we want to make Joburg business friendly. A city that is business friendly attracts investors and entrepreneurs and this leads to the creation of much-needed jobs,” Mayor Mashaba said.

He said 40% of issues plaguing South Africa were self-inflicted.

“This great city of the African continent needs to apply itself to what holds us back, cut red tape and ensure we not only improve efficiencies but we also serve with pride,” he said.

He said creating a professional public service was a precondition for success.

“For us to ensure that services get to the intended people, we also need to declare corruption as public enemy number one in Joburg. Everyone, from politicians to officials, must ensure that corruption is not tolerated,” he concluded.