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‘We Can’t Just Sit At Home’

Published 7 years ago
By Forbes Africa

More black industrialists and entrepreneurs are needed to save Africa’s richest province. So says Paul Mashatile, the political head of African National Congress in Gauteng, South Africa.

“We want more black industrialists who will run businesses and factories. We don’t want people who are happy with equity (deals) there and there. We want people who can create employment. Jobs are critical in this country. We need to make sure this empowerment is not just people sitting at home because they own shares in companies,” says Mashatile, the provincial chairperson of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), and former Gauteng premier.

It has been tough times for Gauteng, the province that is home to Johannesburg. In recent years, it has seen the closure of gold mines, high youth unemployment and service delivery protests.

“In Gauteng province the emphasis is the transformation of the economy through modernization and re-industrialization. For the South African economy to grow, the Gauteng province has to grow faster – above the levels of four to six percent – and then you can drive growth nationally. The focus in the next five years has to be on the transformation of the economy. We want to be part of the re-industrialization on the continent. People are talking about Africa rising and we think Gauteng should be the gateway into the continent, to ensure that we are part of this growth on the continent,” says Mashatile.

With the gold mining prospects in decline in the West Rand region of Johannesburg, Mashatile says alternative economic plans are underway.

“Because mining is on the decline in the West Rand, so we have decided to put more emphasis on the green economy,” he says.

Mashatile says the province has partnered with the private sector and institutions of higher learning to train unemployed youth.

“There are a lot of young people in the townships that are graduates who are unemployed. We are turning them into entrepreneurs; now we start hearing about the township economy that is absorbing a lot of youth,” he says.

David Makhura, the Premier of Gauteng, in his state of the province address in February, said private investment in mixed residential property developments – in places such as Rietfontein, Modderfontein and Midrand – will create about 260,000 jobs in the next 20 years at a cost of $13 billion.

Shanghai Zendai, a Chinese company, in September launched the first phase of the $6.2-billion infrastructure development of residential, industrial and commercial space in Modderfontein, east of Johannesburg.

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Related Topics: #African National Congress, #Gauteng Premier, #November 2015, #Paul Mashatile.