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​Plans to revitalise Alex and Kliptown

Millions of rands have been set aside to rejuvenate Alexandra and Kliptown – two of Johannesburg’s oldest townships – and turn their fortunes around, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said during his State of the Province Address yesterday.
“We are working with [the] national government and the City of Joburg on a definite and concrete plan to revitalise these townships. They are in a terrible and sorry state of disrepair,” he said.

The Premier said as part of the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter in Kliptown, the provincial government and the City of Johannesburg would invest millions of rands to preserve the museum at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication. He said both would also convert the house of struggle heroine Charlotte Maxeke in Kliptown into a museum and an interpretation centre.

The Premier also said the provincial government’s partnership with the private sector and the City of Johannesburg had resulted in the R6.5 billion investment in Steyn City Development, including the construction of a new arterial road (R11) and the [the provision] of infrastructure for basic services. “We fully support the City’s Corridors of Freedom spatial transformation and blue economy initiatives, which will see significant infrastructure investment that will reshape the political economy of space in one of Africa’s largest cities,” he said.

“Over the next five years we will mobilise more than R10 billion in public and private investments in regenerating the Johannesburg CBD, the seat of the provincial government. Having spoken to private sector leaders, I am confident that there is an appetite and passion for investment in the revitalisation of the CBD of Johannesburg.”

As part of the provincial government’s strategy to reignite township businesses, Premier Makhura said the Orlando and Ennerdale industrial parks would also be revitalised.

“We are prioritising the development of agri-parks on the periphery of urban settlements, where young people will be given opportunities to farm,” Premier Makhura said in particular reference to the Lufhereng Agri-Estate, where land has been earmarked for small-scale farming and agro-processing by the City."

The Premier also revealed that the City had set aside R3 billion for the establishment of a Township Economy Partnership Fund involving the corporate sector, township enterprises and the government to promote investment in the township economy and development of township enterprises and cooperatives.

“In addition, we will work with the Cooperatives Banks Development Agency to facilitate the establishment of cooperative banks that are owned by communities (including burial societies and stokvels), as part of promoting financial inclusion and broadening access to credit by township enterprises and communities."

“The provincial government currently spends at least 5% of its R10 billion procurement budget on goods and services from township enterprises. We have now committed to setting aside 30% of public procurement budget for township enterprises over the next five years,” the Premier said.

In Diepsloot, about 160 township entrepreneurs involved in light manufacturing and other productive activities will benefit from the R1.6-billion investment in the 

Riversands-Dieppe SMME Incubation Hub.

The hub is at the heart of the new Riversands Commercial Park, which will provide mentorship and enterprise support to ensure that when SMMEs graduate from the programme, they are better placed to grow and expand.

The premier also expressed joy that many companies and state-owned enterprises had made pledges to contribute to Tshepo 500 000, the provincial government’s strategy launched last year to accelerate youth employment and entrepreneurship.

“This year we aim to create 50 000 of these opportunities; 150 000 in 2016 and 125 000 in 2019. This is yet another example of future partnerships between [the] government and the private sector. I urge other private sector companies to come on board so together we can continue to inspire hope and create a better future for our young people,” he said.

Premier Makhura also announced that the Zola-Jabulani healthcare facility would be renamed Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in memory of the slain ANC lawyer, who died as he was trying to listen to a booby trapped Walkman at the height of the struggle for liberation.