The economic war room Premier Alan Winde promised as the first pillar in his State of the Province Address last month, has begun operations looking at some of the issues holding back the province’s economic progress. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Cape Town - The economic war room Premier Alan Winde promised as the first pillar in his State of the Province Address (Sopa) last month, has begun operations looking at some of the issues holding back the province’s economic progress.

The war room, which is focused on jobs, is being funded by Harvard University and facilitation support from Wesgro. It is made up of five groups of between five and eight officials from across provincial and City of Cape Town departments. It reports to the premier and mayor Dan Plato, who jointly lead the war room, as well as to key provincial and city principals.

The project, which is still in its pilot stage, is specifically focusing on five areas.

According to Winde, these include “construction and the property industry which has been in crisis across the country, resulting in major job losses and manufacturing, with a focus on the informal sector”.

Winde said that the province was looking at ways to increase manufacturing which could contribute to investment and increased exports.

According to the latest Statistics SA jobs data, the number of jobs in manufacturing in the Western Cape grew by 19000 year-on-year, and by increasingly focusing on local production, and supporting the production of goods in the informal market, there was further growth potential.

The other areas that the war room would focus on were Investment in the Atlantis Special Economic Zone, Tech and BPO and Commuter mobility.

These aspects relied on the fact that the province had a growing tech sector, and was a leader in business processing and major employer of young people.

Winde also said that ensuring there was safe, reliable transport for residents meant they would be able to access work and economic opportunities more easily.

During his first Sopa, Winde promised his administration would help create an enabling environment for business and yesterday, in his regular Monday Facebook broadcast of his weekly diary, he said: “Specifically around jobs and the economy, I will be having a number of meetings as the war room starts to get going.”

Winde has also placed his faith in the Red Tape Reduction Unit, whose members will also be playing a role in war room. He said: “The Red Tape Reduction Unit has been hugely successful and we will be further expanding its focus.”

@MwangiGithahu

[email protected]

Cape Argus