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Gauteng set to focus on revitalisation of ‘township economy’, says premier

June 29, 2014

THE Gauteng provincial government will focus on the revitalisation and mainstreaming of the “township economy” over the next five years, Premier David Makhura said during his first state of the province address in Thokoza township, Ekurhuleni.

He said the three pillars of the provincial government’s plan of action for the new administration were radical economic transformation, the transformation of the spatial landscape of the province and the modernisation of the economy.

The African National Congress’ provincial and municipal representatives have often hinted at taking steps to change the spatial design of the province, which keeps poor, remote communities isolated from centres of economic opportunity.

The proposed solution includes boosting economic activity in township areas and developing housing projects closer to areas where beneficiaries work.

Mr Makhura said the provincial government aimed to build a new “social sector” of the economy that was driven by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and would launch township incubation hubs to support this goal.

“In the next 100 days we will launch the first SMME Incubation Hub in Diepsloot. This is a ground-breaking initiative that has the potential to develop the Diepsloot township economy … and set an example of township economy revitalisation, following Soweto’s example … The days when townships were dormitories are over,” Mr Makhura said.

He said townships needed to become “self-sufficient and vibrant economies”.

According to Mr Makhura, the second phase of the transition to a national democratic society would need the economic participation of people from townships including Mamelodi, Kliptown and Sharpeville.

He said the provision of primary services would contribute to revitalising the township economies and that the Gauteng government would continue to invest in healthcare, security and other public services, as well as monitoring standards of service delivery regularly.

During a briefing following his address, Mr Makhura urged township residents to co-operate with the state once infrastructure had been developed in their areas.

“One thing that has been seen is that hostels are a beehive for crime. We went to Dube hostel in Alexandra and what I saw there made my heart sore. Dube hostel units were renovated but people refused to enter them because they knew they now had to pay for services,” he said.

Mr Makhura’s special advisor on service delivery intervention, Mxolisi Xayiya, said the provincial government would work with municipal authorities to “stem malpractice and irregularities” in the roll out of housing projects.

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