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Western Cape readies partnership board

Cape Town 26 may 2009 Local govt minister of finance Alan Winde in his office. Picture brenton geach

Cape Town 26 may 2009 Local govt minister of finance Alan Winde in his office. Picture brenton geach

Published Aug 7, 2012

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Donwald Pressly

The board and the new chairman of the recently established Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, which will seek an economic vision for the opposition-ruled province, will be announced today.

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It is expected that the partnership will “think out of the box” and include constituencies that work outside of the formal economy. The new body will be able to determine which existing agencies, businesses and non-governmental organisations will be best suited to carry out job creation initiatives in the province.

While the new chairman’s name is under wraps, it is understood to be a prominent former ANC politician who held a senior cabinet position in the economic cluster. This is an attempt to ensure that the new mechanism will not be party political and will be open to ideas outside of the free market platform of the province’s ruling party, the DA.

Andrew Boraine, the Cape Town Partnership chairman, and Alan Winde, the Western Cape MEC for Finance, have been the driving forces behind what was originally envisaged as a development agency.

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But, as Wesgro chief executive Nils Flaatten explained, his organisation remained the provincial government’s implementation agency for trade and investment promotion.

Winde, meanwhile, noted that Wesgro had already absorbed Cape Town Routes Unlimited, which is the tourism promotion agency for the city and the province.

While the partnership had originally been envisaged as “an agency” that would absorb all the existing provincial state agencies, including Wesgro, after discussions with business, labour and civil society, its mandate had changed to one where there was “a space that talks about the economy… a think tank”.

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The partnership would initially be financed by the province and the City of Cape Town and its members would be associations, rather than individual organisations or businesses. Thus the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Accelerate Cape Town, for example, are among the 120 member associations.

Pressed on whether the new partnership had the support of parties other than the ruling DA, Boraine, who served as the Cape Town city manager under an ANC administration, said: “We haven’t canvassed any political parties.”

The DA was not a member of the partnership, he noted, but there were a number of people working in informal settlements “outside the formal economy”, who were represented through affiliations and organisations working among the poor who were not necessary DA-orientated. These included NGO groups and the Treatment Action Campaign.

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The announcement of the new chairman would be “a bombshell” as the appointee was associated with the ANC in the past, but that person’s affiliation was wider than simply the national ruling party, Boraine explained.

Pressed on whether Cosatu would be on board, Boraine said the trade union federation was not involved.

While Tony Ehrenreich, the provincial federation leader, could not be reached for comment yesterday, it is understood that Cosatu was still committed to the previous provincial development council, which was disbanded by the DA provincial government.

However, Boraine said that the Federation of Unions of SA, with about 500 000 people under its umbrella nationwide, was a member.

Cosatu was understood to be still committed to a collective bargaining model, which was not how the new partnership was being set up.

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