Western Cape to focus on infrastructure

2012-02-17 13:39

Zille walks in Cape Town streets

2012-02-02 15:24

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille walked about in the streets of Cape Town to chat to residents ahead of the State of the Nation address.WATCH

Cape Town - The Western Cape will see a "game-changing" infrastructure plan this year, premier Helen Zille said on Friday.

"The most powerful economic lever in the hands of a provincial government is the ability to build growth-creating infrastructure," Zille told the opening of the provincial legislature in Cape Town.

"While I welcome President [Jacob] Zuma's new focus on infrastructure development, it is critical to understand that without private sector investment, neither South Africa nor the Western Cape will be able to build the infrastructure needed for growth."

Regeneration projects

The city would see three regeneration projects, namely the Founders' Garden/Artscape precinct, the development of a government precinct and the development of the Somerset Hospital precinct.

The Cape Town International Convention Centre would be doubled in capacity.

Zille said the province would launch a road network improvement project to support the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone initiative.

She also announced plans for a project to provide broadband internet access to every citizen, school and government facility in the province.

"It is clear that if we aim to create an international competitive knowledge economy, improve productivity and enjoy access to new markets, we need to invest far more in fast and affordable broadband infrastructure."

The goal was to connect 70% of government facilities and every school by 2014.

Within the next two years, Khayelitsha, Mitchell's Plain and Saldanha Bay would ideally all be connected, Zille said.

Economic growth, job creation

The provincial government's priority is creating the right conditions for inclusive economic growth and job creation, Zille said.

"This insight forms our strategy... but no government can achieve economic development on its own," she said.

"That is why we have chosen to establish an Economic Development Partnership (EDP), where all stakeholders in the economy will come together to develop and help implement a shared agenda for economic growth, development and inclusion."

The EDP was registered at the beginning of the year and would be launched in April.

It would include a steering committee of prominent leaders from the business community and government.

Zille said the EDP was the only sustainable way to fight poverty.

Over time, it would result in an improved investment climate, a more competitive and resilient economy and, ultimately, higher levels of growth and employment.

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