Eastern Cape needs better way to attract investments, says Mcebisi Jonas

Former deputy finance minister highlights concerns at the provincial investment conference in East London

Eastern Cape finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at the provincial investment conference in East London
Eastern Cape finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas at the provincial investment conference in East London
Image: Deneesha Pillay

The Eastern Cape's two metros - Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City - are insufficiently dynamic and are not acting as growth engines.

This was one of the concerns highlighted by former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, who presented the keynote address at the provincial investment conference in East London on Tuesday.

Jonas said the province would need to more than double its current investment initiatives to assist the national investment target which stands at R1.2-trillion in fresh fixed investment over the next five years.

Addressing more than 200 delegates from various private corporations and government officials, Jonas said the Eastern Cape relies too heavily on public investment.

“We need vibrant cities and a better way of life to attract investors. If you are a city with a port, those ports need to be dynamic.

“Investors are looking for predictability and consistency and SA has been negatively affected by policy inconsistencies and widespread corruption.

“Provincial governments are urged to find investable projects to assist in reducing unemployment," he said.

On his point of the province needing to do better in getting the basics right, Jonas said he would be concerned if a councillor or mayor within any metro was not aware of the number of businesses operating in the area they manage.

"When you choose your mayors, think very hard. When you consistently choose bad leadership you are very likely to go wrong.

“We need to diversify this economy and create jobs on the back of a growing economy.

“The contribution of cities in the Eastern Cape towards GDP is very small and we need cities to become dynamic in terms of industrialisation."

Jonas also urged businesses to reflect on their own contribution towards growing investment opportunities in the province.

“There is a bigger objective that if our economy grows, we are likely to create jobs. We need to do introspection among ourselves and the quality of our engagement with government.  

"This conference is about finding a way to create a space where investors become interested in putting money into this province,” he said.

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