Gauteng Premier David Makhura delivers the State of the Province Address at Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein yesterday. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

Johannesburg – Gauteng Premier David Makhura has set a target to create more than 600 000 jobs in the formal sector before the end of his first term in office.

“In the next two years to be exact,” Makhura said.

The ever confident Makhura said Gauteng had been resilient as the economic and industrial hub of South Africa and the SADC region, while other provinces were struggling to meet their provincial job demands.

“Gauteng has recorded the largest net gain in new jobs created since the 2008 global financial crisis. Between 2010 and the end of 2016, our provincial economy created more than 700 000 new jobs. Since the start of the fifth administration in 2014, bi-annual employment has reached 317000, thus breaking the ceiling of 300000."

“Taking into account the dynamic of job losses in sectors such as manufacturing and mining as well as the gruelling reality that 42% of all migrants come into Gauteng, our employment gains are significant but not sufficient to turn the tide of unemployment,” he said.

"To significantly decrease unemployment, his government needed to “double this number and reach at least 600 000 new jobs over a two-year period from 2017 until 2019”.

“The rapid implementation of the new Provincial Economic Development Plan, which has been embraced by all stakeholders, will be the priority focus of Team Gauteng, in partnership with municipalities and social partners."

“We are engaging in an amazing work of direct interaction with business leaders at firm level and through what we call industry action labs to unlock the employment and empowerment potential of key sectors in our province."

“Together with industry leaders and municipalities, we are identifying and addressing local impediments that hinder the growth in employment, empowerment and exports,” Makhura said.

He said they were working in partnership with economists from the University of Johannesburg and the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences.

“In addition, we are doing work to enhance the contribution of innovation, research and development in partnership with the CSIR, University of the Witwatersrand and Vaal University of Technology through the Gauteng Innovation Hub,” he said.

Makhura also announced that his government was on a serious drive for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Gauteng.

In 2015, Mozambique attracted more FDI than Gauteng, but Makhura was adamant that he could change that tide.

“Gauteng’s ability to attract FDI is unparalleled. Between 2014 and 2016 our provincial economy attracted R66 billion of FDI inflows. The Gauteng Investment Centre, our ‘one-stop shop’, and the team at the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency are doing well in making Gauteng a preferred investment destination."

“With regard to tourism, Gauteng receives the largest number of foreign tourists, with 41.4% of the total. Gauteng has the highest number of bed-nights and most revenue generated, compared to other provinces, within the international tourist markets. We also receive the majority of African land-based tourists."

“The Gauteng Tourism Authority is doing a great job in promoting our province as a hub for business tourism,” he said.

Makhura said his government had since 2014 spent R6bn on township economies, from R600m in 2014.

“This represents 22% of the 30% target we have set for 2019. We are emboldened that we can reach 40% by the end of our term. The number of township enterprises benefiting from public procurement policy has increased threefold from 800 in 2014 to more than 2800 by January 2017,” Makhura said.

According to him, more still needed to be done to improve township economies and the construction of necessary infrastructure to allow local businesses to do their jobs with ease and comfort.

“One of the instruments the government has to use to deracialise the economy and bring historically disadvantaged groups into the mainstream of the economy is public procurement policy.”

Political Bureau