David Maynier, Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, shares his vision for the Western Cape in the letter below.
“Today marks eight months since I was sworn into office as the Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, and with it the launch of a new monthly newsletter which aims to inform those interested of what we’ve been up to in the ministry, and our plans going forward.
As a new government in the Western Cape, we are currently in the process of developing our five-year strategic plan. This plan aims to deliver on a vision for a “Safe Western Cape where everyone prospers”.
Over the next five years we will focus our efforts and invest in five strategic priorities, more commonly known as Vision Inspired Priorities or VIPs.
Economic growth and job creation is one of these five priorities, and while we have done more than any other province over the past ten years to promote economic growth and to create jobs in the Western Cape, there is still much work to be done.
There are many ways that we are already implementing our strategy, but three areas are my primary focus at the outset of this year.
Growing exports, primarily through trade promotion and the removal of obstacles to exports, is a critical lever in our strategy to grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.
One of the biggest obstacles to growing exports that we currently face is the congestion issue at the Port of Cape Town. Addressing this will be a major focus for me, and a task team has already been established for this purpose. I am expecting a report back on their progress in March.
Across South Africa businesses were hit hard by severe load-shedding at the end of 2019, which reached stage six for the first time. We recognise that load shedding has a major impact to the bottom line of businesses, affects the economy negatively and possibly results in job losses.
In a recent op-ed for Business Day, I wrote about the many ways that the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town are already building energy resilience to support growth and jobs during load-shedding. You can read the op-ed here.
But, there is still more to be done, and that is why this year I will also prioritise energy resilience in the Western Cape and support to businesses to beat load shedding.
And, finally, with the delivery of the provincial budget on the 4 March this year, my priority will be to ensure good fiscal finances and clean governance in the province, doing everything we can to protect front-line service delivery in the face of looming budget cuts by national government.
While we face many challenges in the year ahead, I am also excited about the opportunities. Last year I met with many impressive businesses across the province who are not only being resilient to these challenges, but working hard and thriving as they innovate and compete in the global economy.
This year, I look forward to working even more closely with businesses in the Western Cape, listening and learning so we can better support them, and together we can grow the economy and create jobs in the Western Cape.