Major economic injection for poor City region
Johannesburg’s Region G – arguably one of the poorest regions in the city – is to undergo a massive economic revival.
Speaking at a Local Economic Development Forum organised by the City of Johannesburg’s Citizen Relationship and Urban Management (CRUM) at the Ennerdale Civic Centre, Programme Area Manager Woody Bullanga said the City’s mission was to turn the region into an integral part of Greater Johannesburg and to create a viable and sustainable business environment.
He added that the intention was also to empower and develop “visibly active industries” and other strategic sectors in the region.
Bullanga said the region would also develop ward level profiles and identify cross-functional flagship projects to eradicate systematic decay, facilitate and leverage regeneration projects.
“The region will plan and manage capital investments as part of multi-sectoral project implementation. It will also support private sector investments through efficient and effective urban management,” Bullanga said. The region consists mainly of informal dwellings and formal housing units and is severely impacted by high levels of poverty and unemployment.
The area has no economic base of its own and is dependent on Johannesburg and neighbouring towns. It has five industrial sites – Midway, Nancefield, Anchorville, Ennerdale and Kiasha Park – and four business areas: Eyethu Mall, Ennerdale Shopping Centre, Eldorado Park Centre and Lenasia CBD.
However, the southern area of the region still has agricultural land. Regional Director Mickey Padiachee concurred with Bullanga, saying the City wanted to ensure that communities formed a sustainable and inclusive local economic development (LED) structure. But he warned the region won’t form an LED structure for the fake of it. Padiachee said the aim of the forum was to provide a platform for all stakeholders to consult on challenges facing them and to listen to ideas and inputs.
The whole process, he said, was to drive the local economy and eradicate poverty.
“We want to deal with poverty and want to put bread on the table of each and every businessman and woman in this area. We have one objective – to make people’s lives better,” he said.
Morris Ralebane, a Finetown businessman said he was tired of promises and great ideas being presented but never implemented.Ralebane said he had attended several similar meetings in which promises were made but remained just that – promises.
Nomfundo Ntsolo, a member of a local cooperative, said she and her business partners were denied access to the agricultural fund and when they made further inquiries were sent from pillar to post. Another local businessman said he had attended several similar meetings in the past but nothing had materialised from them.
Councillor Danny Netnow condemned officials who were lining their pockets at the expense of the poor. He appealed to them as well as members of the community to act honestly so as everyone could all have “a slice of the cake”.