A large chunk of the R195.5-million set aside for economic development will be invested in revitalising industrial parks and Priority Economic Zones (PEZ) to boost economic activity in Joburg in the next fiscal period.
MMC for Economic Development, Cllr Lawrence Khoza says this budgetary allocation will help alleviate Joburg's high unemployment rate, create jobs and promote spatial transformation in line with the City's Economic Growth Strategy.
The long term economic outlook examines ways to improve the standard of living within Johannesburg by providing residents with adequate public services and information so that they can be employable in the future.
“This money speaks to the challenges that our people are facing today. It is geared towards rebuilding and transforming Johannesburg into a thriving City. It responds to Covid-19 and low economic growth," Cllr Khoza explains.
Through this budget, the MMC says residents will have full access to certain economic services they've been previously deprived of, including new Opportunity Centres in previously marginalised communities such as Orange Farm and Ivory Park. A Mobile Opportunity Centre will also be launched.
He asserts that his department has trained several youths as artisans through the City's Artisan Development Programme and will launch the Youth Cooperative Development Programme in all regions.
“This is the City's way of giving back to the community to ensure young people are part of economic growth activities," he explains.
Cllr Khoza notes that the 2021/22 budget will provide for the opening of the Alexandra-Marlboro Automotive hub, which will be a legacy project of the Government of Local Unity. The hub will see the development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) from Alexandra and Marlboro, through collaborating with various municipal stakeholders to incubate 17 SMMEs in the automotive sector.
The hub comprises a component shop, tyre fitment and alignment, panel beating, auto electrical work and services as well as a maintenance workshop.
“I further welcome the allocation of R45-million towards the re-establishment of the Johannesburg Tourism Company (JTC). Tourism is a major contributor to economic growth and job creation. It has an important role to play in placing the City's economy on a sustainable inclusive growth trajectory," Cllr Khoza says.
The MMC notes that the impact tourism has on the growth and development of the local economy is unmatched, as it's the country's spin in terms of revenue generation, saving and expenditure.
“This budget responds to the needs of our people. The stakes are high. Residents and other stakeholders expect the budget to address their challenges and we believe it does exactly that," Cllr Khoza concludes.
Written by Gontse 'Gee' Hlophe