Plan to get the Eastern Cape economy booming in next decade

Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane
Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane
Image: Mark Andrews

There will be an overhaul of the face of the Eastern Cape economy over the next 10 years.

To do this, government would support small businesses to create jobs, premier Oscar Mabuyane said as he launched the provincial development plan in East London last week.

Sectors such as tourism, heritage and cultural industries, construction, ocean economy, manufacturing, energy, innovation and knowledge economy will be our playground,” he said.

On building an enabling infrastructure network, Mabuyane said, by 2030 the province's infrastructure framework would be totally overhauled if everyone worked together.

“The focus will be more on implementing catalytic regional projects, transport infrastructure, agro-logistics, oceans economy, tourism ICT infrastructures.

“This will be an era in which the Mzimvubu Dam will be built. This will be an era in which the N2 Wild Coast road will be completed. This will be an era in which more factories will be built to create jobs.

“This will be an era in which more of our people will have access to water and sanitation, modern schools and health facilities.

“I dare say this here and now, that this will be an era of reconstruction and development in our province,” Mabuyane said.

He  said agricultural development would finally get the attention it deserved.

“We will invest resources to support all scales of farming, starting with a subsistence farmer in a small village to large scale farmers and co-operatives to create jobs and sustainable food security in our province.

“Our focus will be on affirming farmers who participate in  red meat, milk, poultry, fruit and vegetables, wine, wheat, forestry, aquaculture, small-scale fisheries, biofuels and cannabis production,” Mabuyane said.

In his state of the province address in Bhisho in June, Mabuyane said his administration planned on halving the 37% unemployment rate in 10 years. He also announced that 16 new projects were in the pipeline as part of a stimulus package that would bring new, sustainable jobs to the province.

The 16 projects would benefit from the R336.9m set aside for the year to stimulate the economy.

Mabuyane said the province had set six goals to ensure the Eastern Cape was an enterprising and connected province.

These include: Building an innovative and inclusive growing economy, building an enabling infrastructure framework network, rural development and an innovative high-value agriculture sector as well as building capable democratic institutions.

He added that the development plan required planning at district level as it had failed to do so in the last 25 years.

This means therefore we must instil a new culture of good corporate governance and transform attitudes of the entire state machinery to be truly co-operative.

“There should be no turf wars because there is no war.

“All that enjoins us should be the development of our province, district by district,” he said.