Gauteng province remains the largest contributor to SA's economic output but is growing slower than the population, its economic development head Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - Gauteng province remains the largest contributor to South Africa’s economic output, contributing 35 percent to gross domestic product, but is growing slower than the population, creating a disproportionate burden on infrastructure and basic services, its economic development head has said.

In a budget speech, Gauteng member of the executive council for economic development Kgosientsho Ramokgopa also said while a greater number of black people had been drawn into the mainstream economy, the central failure was the inability to transition from consumption fueled growth to that led by manufacturing.

“In our many engagements, as well as the thousands of social media comments, the sentiment that two of the major impediments for black business is growth and access to capital on the one hand and market access, is pervasive,” he said.

“The state needs to be aggressive in asserting its redistributive capacity both through legislative instruments and state procurement in a manner that direct investments in the economy in such a manner to undermine the structural faultlines of an economy that was historically designed to exclude the black and particularly the African majority."

Ramokgopa said the department would sponsor a detailed policy proposal on the introduction of the Gauteng Township Economy Development Bill.

It would also, before the end of September, issue a call to market to set up  a community financing instrument designed to provide secured lending to black small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) and small-scale manufacturing based in townships.

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller would be remodeled and repositioned to play a significantly greater role in providing both financial and non-financial support to the small business enterprise.

Ramokgopa said the Gauteng government would also work with young black “techpreneurs” towards developing ecosystems around mobile money platforms to support SMMEs, building and strengthening bulk buying networks and stimulating a culture of savings.

He lauded a commitment by technology company Vumatel to spearhead a R2 billion township internet fibre rollout.

As a spin-off of the fibre deployment, Vumatel would extend fibre-to-the-home connections covering 1.2 million households in Soweto and Alexandra in Johannesburg and Vosloorus, Tembisa, Kwa-Thema and Daveyton in Ekurhuleni, Ramokgopa said.

He added that tourism continued to be a major contributor to Gauteng's economy, with prospects for significant growth.

"Unlocking this growth will require investment in tourism product development, upgrading of the existing product offering and diversifying our basket beyond Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) into the realm of leisure tourism,” he said.

African News Agency (ANA)