The Gauteng provincial government wants to convert some of its public buildings, including schools, clinics and hospitals into centres of economic activity; saying this could unlock R42 billion in value and create 190 000 jobs. Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo said they wanted to unlock the economic potential of these assets through working with the private sector in an attempt to create new integrated precinct developments, especially in townships.
Potential spaces earmarked for development include the area around the Lillian Ngoyi hospital in Soweto, excess land from Sandown High School in the north of Johannesburg, the area next to the Vaal Dam, the area around Emoyeni conference in Parktown and the Roodeplaat Dam north East of Pretoria.
The MEC said there is huge economic potential locked in our R30 billion worth of assets and we, therefore, need to optimise economic value in the use and custodianship of these assets in order to radically transform and reindustrialise our economy, and further create jobs. “We now have a rare opportunity to define and dictate economic development based on the assets and resources directly in our control,” he said.
Mamabolo said these precincts would help bring investments into townships and change them from places where people live while working elsewhere, to important economic hubs that create jobs and energise the townships.
“We have got to bring to an end the situation where there has been market failure and lack of appetite to invest in townships and as a result there are no sustainable job opportunities. Townships are basically a place for labour and people moving in and out. The government precinct wishes to bring that to an end.
“As government, we need to crowd investments in townships. If we don’t invest massively in townships, townships will remain as they are,” he said.