If your business does not have a base and footprint in Gauteng within the next five years, it will miss out “big time”, according to Gauteng premier David Makhura, who presented his vision for the province to an investment and savings conference in Sandton on Wednesday.
Speaking to leaders of companies such as Sanlam, MMI, Alexander Forbes and Old Mutual, Makhura explained how his government was working successfully with the private sector.
“I have found that the private sector is looking for leadership,” he said. “Once they have a sense that you know where you are going and they realise it’s good for the country, they invest.”
“Over the past 12 months, we have worked very closely with business,” Makhura told Fin24 after his speech.
“Personally, I have the passion to get the private sector to understand that government is not an enemy.
“Government is interested in working with them and energising them to bring their resources into the space,” he said. “I have found that there is appetite [and] there is interest amongst [the] private sector … to work with government.”
Five corridors of strength
Makhura outlined the five corridors of Gauteng, explaining that each one would get infrastructure development to create unique skills specialisation. They are:
- Central corridor (Johannesburg): specialising in finance, ICT and pharmaceutical.
- Eastern corridor (Ekurhuleni): main anchor of the Aerotropolis (Airport economy).
- Northern corridor (Tshwane): hub of the automotive sector and the knowledge-based economy.
- Western corridor (West Rand): new diverse economy will be created around tourism and Lanseria Airport City.
- Southern corridor (Sedibeng): tourism, agro-processing and agriculture.
Ahead of his speech, Makhura had attended the sod turning of the Vaal River City Development in Sedibeng (worth between R7bn and R 11bn). “It will bring a much needed boost to the economy of the region,” he said.
Makhura said that talking was good, but that he wanted to see action. The Inaugural Gauteng Infrastructure Conference from 17 to 18 June at the Sandton Convention Centre would bring business and government together to act on the plans, he said.
“We want to market our province [at the conference] as a … preferred destination for FDI (foreign direct investment) globally,” he said.
“We also want to bring … specific infrastructure projects [to the conference] that we want to showcase and get private sector investors to put in money in that to help us build this province along a line of a vision of a globally competitive city region that is a gateway to Africa.
“Our Infrastructure Conference is going to be exciting, we will have lots of businesses from Africa, as well, because … we are open for business.
“Africa is rising [and] we want to participate in Africa’s industrialisation, but we also want African countries and business people to understand that if you do business anywhere else and you don’t do business in South Africa … you still have a long way to go in Africa.
“Holiday in Cape Town, but come work in Johannesburg,” he told the delegates, some of whom were based in the Mother City. “If you are not based in Joburg in the next five years, you will miss out big time.”