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Mpumalanga Premier, Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, has committed to prioritising economic transformation and mass job creation by aligning the province’s plans to the national Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

The recovery plan was unveiled by the President in October 2020, in an effort to assist the country’s economy recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivering the State of the Province Address on Friday, the Premier said the province will intensify the roll out of the Mpumalanga Industrial Development Plan, the Nkomazi Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market.

The Nkomazi SEZ and Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market have the potential to place the agricultural sector on a growth trajectory, create massive job opportunities and investments for the province.

“These initiatives will open opportunities for value chains development, agro-processing, trade and export, including the agricultural development of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

“We are beginning to see progress in the construction of the Mpumalanga International Fresh Produce Market. As we speak, we anticipate the finalisation of the main market by the end of the upcoming financial year,” the Premier said.

The province is working together with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the Nkomazi Local Municipality, the Ehlanzeni District Municipality and traditional authorities to finalise all the statutory requirements needed to ensure that the SEZ site is legally compliant.

The province is also working on concluding all the planning and design work, so that the development of the site can commence in the upcoming financial year, and on strengthening the investment pipeline.

“The Nkomazi SEZ has received a boost following a very ambitious investment proposal by a Mpumalanga based property development company. As a province, we have been actively engaging private sector partners, who wish to work with us in creating an agri-processing facility around the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA).

“These discussions are at an advanced stage and include proposals that encompass a wide range of investment initiatives, anchored on a regional beneficiation hub and trade port,” Mtshweni-Tsipane said.

The province will ensure that the development of small businesses is prioritised in the projects, especially enterprises owned by young people, women and people with disabilities.

District Development Model

The province has introduced a new integrated district-based approach to address service delivery challenges, prioritise procuring locally and create jobs  within communities

“Embedded within the implementation of the District Development Model are individualised Economic Recovery Plans per district, which will direct the economic potential of the Districts by leveraging local resources across the three spheres of government, business and communities in order to address the economic challenges confronting each district.

“The public-private partnership component within the District Development Model is beginning to bear fruit. In Steve Tshwete local municipality, we will be working together with private sector partners to build a R350 million four-star hotel,” the Premeir said.

This public-private partnership project has Akani Properties, a black-owned property development company, as a partner, along with the internationally renowned Raddison Hotel Group.

“The hotel will have a capacity of 150 beds and a convention centre of 1 000 seats. Part of the conditions of the award is that 10% ownership should be local and 30% of the construction work should be sub-contracted to local businesses. This project will create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and permanent jobs once operational,” the Premier said.

The sod-turning ceremony for this project is expected to take place by the end of the month.

The province has also identified other important economic measures as part of its drive to create more jobs and fight the scourge of poverty and inequality. 

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ensuring that all departments eliminate bottlenecks and pay valid invoices within 30 days;
  • Providing relief funding to small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs);
  • Implementing the Mpumalanga Tourism Recovery Plan;
  • Fast-tracking support to Highveld Steel in order to promote the establishment of the Mining and Metal Industrial Technology Park, and
  • Also fast-tracking the establishment of the Petro-chemical Industrial Technology Park and Forestry Industrial Technology Park.

Fighting corruption

The Premier expressed the province’s commitment to fight corruption.

“We will fight corruption in government whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. I have instructed Provincial Treasury to collaborate with the Office of the Auditor-General to vigorously implement the provisions of the Audit Amendment Act to ensure that perpetrators of financial misconduct not only incur criminal prosecution but are also held personally liable for the mismanagement of public resources,” she said.

Mtshweni-Tsipane said the province will continue to petition the Special Investigating Unit to probe instances of prima-facie financial mismanagement.

“This administration will strive to give our people the confidence they are looking for in the management of public funds,” she said.

SAnews.gov.za

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