Mayor’s team, chamber get down to business
Key stakeholders meet to discuss economic development of the metro
The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and members of the mayoral committee, including mayor Mongameli Bobani, met on Tuesday to discuss economic development in the metro, including tourism, expansion of the airport and a one-stop-shop for investors.
Business chamber CEO Nomkhita Mona said it was important for the chamber to meet the new political leadership and bring it up to speed on the catalytic projects that the chamber had been working on in collaboration with metro officials.
“The city-inclusive strategy the business chamber shared with the metro is underpinned by a very successful model of task teams, focused on strategic issues relating to electricity, water, roads, transport and logistics, and SMMEs,” Mona said.
The task team set up between the metro and the business chamber – the metro collaboration task team– was meant to co-operate on matters of mutual interest, Mona said.
She said the meeting centred on a number of high-value, high-impact strategic projects that the business chamber had been championing.
“This includes the city’s trade and investment strategy, under which the very crucial one-stop-shop is housed,” Mona said.
The one-stop-shop is aimed at enabling international investors, existing investors and business people to receive all services under one roof.
“The business chamber reiterated to the mayor the importance of setting up this onestop-shop, as it would enable the city to assist existing and potential investors in a more efficient and proactive way,” Mona said.
“The business chamber is aware that South Africa is a water-scarce country, which is why we discussed the project relating to sustainable water supply for the metro.”
MMC for infrastructure and engineering Andile Lungisa said other focus areas of the meeting included the ongoing efforts to expedite the removal of the manganese and liquid bulk storage facilities by Transnet to the Port of Ngqura.
“We are looking at the manganese investment in Coega as well as the manganese tanks at the beachfront in Port Elizabeth so that the area can be opened for development,” Lungisa said.
“We are also looking at the Port Elizabeth International Airport. We need to attract more passengers and tourists into our area and we are also looking at plans to expand the airport.”
Bobani said the team was expected to meet on a quarterly basis to ensure that all stakeholders continued to work together to remain driven to serve the needs of the poor in the metro.
“The meeting was very fruitful and we are going to continue to engage with all our stakeholders to meet our objectives of serving the poor,” Bobani said.
Lungisa said: “With the chamber, with the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry [Nafcoc], with SMMEs and political leadership, provincial government will approach national government with vigour and energy to ensure that investments and capital projects come to our city.”
Mona said the importance of SMMEs in the development of the metro’s economy was emphasised at the meeting and that it was clear about the various forms of support required by SMMEs.
“We have programmes aimed at supporting emerging exporters and developing better entrepreneurs,” Mona said.
“It was evident that there were synergies between the thinking of the metro and the business chamber with regards to the economic development of the city.”