Gauteng premier, David Makhura, has pledged to turn the province into a technological hub.
Presenting his state of the province address on Monday (1 July), Makhura said that this would include investing in ‘wall-to-wall broadband coverage’, with an emphasis on deprived communities.
“Investing in internet connectivity will increase our GDP by 1.5%, improve service delivery to citizens, create new industries and provide new platforms for small businesses to integrate with the mainstream economy,” Makhura said.
“Over several decades, we have been building a smart and techno-savvy Gauteng City Region with an innovation ecosystem that includes the Gauteng Innovation Hub, public universities and research institutes, private sector centres of innovation and recently, eKasi Labs.
“In the coming years, we will expand the infrastructure and the offerings of the Gauteng Innovation Hub in order to revive the of growing it into Africa’s Silicon Valley that will drive the development of our digital economy. ”
Makhura said that Gauteng should also be a hub of fourth industrial revolution skills and a centre of excellence for digital economy breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and big data.
To aid this goal, he said that he would appoint an advisory panel that will advise the provincial government on the fourth industrial revolution in the first 100 Days.
“Within the first 100 Days, MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko will present a detailed plan to the executive council on how to deliver 100% of government services on digital platforms over the next five years,” he said,
“Within 12 months, I want to see more progress in smart and efficient digital public services in areas such as revenue collection, payment of service providers within 15 and 30 days, delivery of education and health, library services, policing and monitoring of infrastructure projects.”
In addition to a focus on technology, Makhura said that a number of developments are currently underway within the province.
“Over the past five years, the Gauteng economy attracted R199 billion of foreign direct investment and 469,000 new jobs were created,”he said.
“This was a result of joint effort and collaboration between government and business.”
He added that a number of new investments are unfolding or in the pipeline, including:
- The Tshwane Automotive Hub is going to see significant investments and job creation in the Gauteng economy as a special economic zone for the automotive sector;
- Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa has just introduced a third shift in June, employing 1,200 new workers, mostly women and youth, in the Silverton Automotive Park;
- A major investment of almost R6 billion is being finalised for the Silverton Automotive Hub, which will create 2,255 new direct jobs and 19,433 construction jobs;
- ABInBev is finalising an investment of more than R6 billion in Vereeniging, which will bring an estimated 1,000 new jobs to the Sedibeng region;
- The implementation of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis Roadmap is gaining new traction, with the full support of National Government and SOEs such as ACSA. This includes the development of the Tambo-Springs fuel cell industrial park at the Gauteng IDZ.