MP Tim Harris is to leave Parliament this week and move to Mayor Patricia de Lille’s office as the head of investment to boost job creation and economic growth in the city.
De Lille announced the new position yesterday, saying Harris would focus on driving job creation and investment by aligning the programmes of the city’s economic development department, the Western Cape government, Wesgro, and the Economic Development Partnership.
Harris, the DA’s spokesman on finance, worked on the party’s economic policy in Parliament for the past decade and will be joining the city on June 1.
After a five-year stint as an MP, he was No 4 on the party’s Western Cape regional-to-national list to sit in the National Assembly this year but he has opted to get down to business in local government.
Harris said he “absolutely” did not see the move as a demotion and that it was an exciting opportunity for him to implement policy after having designed and debated it for years in Parliament.
“The next political objective of the DA should be to win control of more metros in the 2016 election. The party will have to campaign on a jobs and investment record in Cape Town in that election, so I see a contribution in that space as critical to the future success of the DA,” Harris said.
He said Cape Town was the DA’s “flagship city” creating more than 70 percent of the province’s jobs but said the city could do more. “Unemployment is still too high and unless we can attract businesses to invest then more jobs will not be created. I have been thinking about how we can offer a red carpet to investors and how we can be a single access point for all the information and assistance they need.
“We need to show that Cape Town is not just a beautiful city with great beaches, good wine and amazing golf courses but also a place where people can come and run world class businesses.”
He said the new site of political growth for the DA was in the metros and that the party has to continue driving investment and job creation.
De Lille said Harris would work with key departments in city to improve the implementation of the city’s economic growth strategy and expanded investment incentive policy.