Business in IDP call to split Region F

Business in IDP call to split Region F
After thousands of residents in various Johannesburg communities and the academia made their contributions to the draft 2016-2021 Integrated Development Plan (IDP) document over the past three weeks, it was the turn of the business community on Friday April 22 to make its voice heard.

Johannesburg was founded on entrepreneurship and its entrepreneurial spirit came alive at the Johannesburg Business Forum (JBF) meeting.

The City of Johannesburg’s Section 79 Economic Development Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Councillor Willie van der Schyf, said the meeting was aimed at gathering contributions from a business and entrepreneurial perspective to enrich the 2016-2021 IDP process.

“As a city with a rich history of entrepreneurial spirit stretching as far back as 1886, we are aware of the significant contribution entrepreneurship plays in an economy. We want to further take Johannesburg’s future in this direction through contributions by business,” said Councillor Van der Schyf.

Toivo Mohapi of the City’s Group Strategy, Policy Co-ordination and Relations Department said communication between the City and all communities was paramount to ensure improved public and stakeholder participation in the IDP process.

“Prior to the release of the IDP draft document, the City had been conducting monthly community conversations about City projects and interventions to ensure the community was informed as much as possible."

“The City has also held several targeted engagements to craft the IDP conversation. Despite these extensive conversations, there is room for improvement to strengthen the process,” said Mohapi.

About 24 IDP meetings were held since April 2, with the last taking place on Thursday April 21. They will culminate in an IDP Stakeholder Summit at Nasrec on Saturday April 30 ahead of the State of the City Address on Wednesday May 4 and Budget speech two weeks later. Stakeholders at the JBF meeting welcomed the opportunity to add their concerns and inputs to the draft 2016-2021 IDP process.

Andrew Barker, a development consultant and chairman of KlipSA, suggested the City split Region F into two – the inner city; and its surrounds – to ensure the diverse focuses of these areas received the attention they required.

“It’s my opinion that budget allocations are not equal and sufficient to bring about growth and economic benefits,” said Barker.

He also suggested that the concerns and contributions of public-private partnerships be included in IDP processes. The importance of tourism needed to be highlighted in the IDP, he said.

“I’m concerned that tourism is not given enough strength under the IDP. It’s crucial to recognise the importance of tourism and its economic benefits,” added Barker.

Eric Stillerman of the London School of Business and Natgrowth said the City needed to include business in discussions during budget allocation processes. iPROP Managing Director Richard Bennett said the City needed to look at the impact of projects and their intended outcomes.

Other recommendations included:

  • Improving by-law policies to ensure the functions of law-enforcement agencies are enhanced;
  • Enhancing co-ordination among local, provincial and national law enforcement agencies;
  • Ensuring planned projects were suited to communities they ere intended to service;
  • Strengthening the sub-Saharan link to further economic growth;
  • Using locally fabricated and produced materials in infrastructure construction; and
  • Investment.