While Gauteng is yet to fully turn the tide of unemployment, the province has managed to create 700 000 jobs in the last six years, the largest net gain recorded in jobs since the global financial crisis.
The province’s infrastructure investment, amounting to R30 billion between 2013 and 2016, has resulted in an average annual growth rate of 20.7%, which is the fasted in the country.
This was revealed by Premier David Makhura, who delivered his State of the Province address at Greenhills Stadium in Randfontein on the West Rand on Monday.
Makhura said since the start of the current administration in 2014, bi-annual employment has reached 317 000, therefore breaking the ceiling of 300 000.
Regarding progress made on the economic transformation as impacted by infrastructure provision and job creation, Makhura said the provincial economy had remained resilient, as the economic and industrial hub of South Africa and the SADC region.
“Taking into account the dynamic of job losses in sectors such as manufacturing and mining, as well as the gruelling reality that 42% of all migrants come into Gauteng, our employment gains are significant but not sufficient to turn the tide of unemployment,” he said.
While this is visible progress towards breaking the backbone of joblessness, Makhura said his government’s satisfaction would come once it doubled this number to at least 600 000 new jobs between now and 2019.
He pinned his hopes on partnerships that include the local authorities and the private sector, which they have started to interact with.
“Together with industry leaders and municipalities, we are identifying and addressing local impediments that hinder the growth in employment, empowerment and exports,” Makhura said.
This partnership involves the economists from the University of Johannesburg and the Gordon Institute of Business Sciences.
The province undertook to enhance its economy utilising the expertise available at its local universities. Makhura said that a Memorandum of Understanding signed with all Gauteng’s universities and research institutions is aimed at making the province a leader in innovation, research and development and knowledge economy.
The province is leading the pack in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), with R66 billion worth of FDI inflows to the province recorded between 2014 and 2016.
The province’s foreign tourism figures were the largest in the country, with 41,4% of foreign tourists and the biggest number of bed nights and revenue collected.
The revitalisation and mainstreaming of the township economy is on-going. The provincial government has upped its spending on township economy from R600m in 2014 to R6 billion in 2019.
He said infrastructure investment is one of the most positive mega trends of the current administration and 92 000 direct jobs were added into the Gauteng economy through infrastructure spend.