City fast-tracking large investments to boost growth
The City of Johannesburg's Fast-Tracking Committee (FTC), a high-level ad hoc body aimed at making it easier for businesses to invest in Joburg by cutting red tape for projects valued at R1-billion or more, has facilitated several large-scale developments since its approval by council about two years ago.
In 2015-2016, the City fast-tracked investments amounting to R4.5-billion. The committee's core mandate is to significantly reduce implementation time for large investment projects.
Initiated by the City's Department of Economic Development (DED), the FTC consists of senior officials and is supported by the Department of Finance, Department of Development Planning and the Department of Environment & Infrastructure Services as well as City entities such as the Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), Johannesburg Water, City Power, Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) and the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA).
Nick Theledi, the DED's Head of Investment Promotion, says the FTC supports the department's job-creation and economic growth strategy by actively promoting and attracting local and foreign investments.
The large-scale developments that the FTC has fast-tracked over the past two years include the Newtown Junction Mall, Diepsloot Shopping Centre, Masingita City, Tower of Africa Mall, Longlake Hospital and the Waterfall Industrial and Business Park, creating 10 700 job opportunities -¬ 6 600 temporary and almost 4 100 permanent.
"We are here for the investor as a one-stop facility that will reduce bureaucratic red tape. The committee is tasked with holding the hand of the investor and guiding him all the way. This is done by connecting relevant stakeholders and getting their comments on projects. Expediting large investment projects contributes to the economic growth we desire for our city," says Theledi.
He says any issue that the FTC cannot solve is referred to the relevant department. "Johannesburg is open for business. Investors must come in. This is what the Fast Tracking Committee is promising," says Theledi.
The FTC has made such significant gains that plans are now afoot at the Mayoral Committee level to have permanent representatives on the committee.