2 years ago

Opportunity Issue 98

  • Text
  • Property
  • Sme
  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Africa
  • Investment
  • Trade
  • Afcfta
  • Sacci
  • Midvaal
  • Economy
  • Programme
  • Petroleum
  • Sector
  • Global
  • Economic
  • African
  • Municipality
  • Infrastructure
Opportunity magazine is a niche business-to-business publication that explores various investment opportunities within Southern Africa’s economic sectors and looks to provide its readers with first-hand knowledge about South African business. Opportunity also looks to present South African business to international markets that may have interests in investing in South Africa. The publication is endorsed by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).


INTERVIEW Ability, agility and sustainability: what modern government can look like The Executive Mayor of Midvaal Local Municipality, Alderman Bongani Baloyi, is proud of seven consecutive clean audits and believes that stability and good systems are vital in attracting investors. Midvaal is a local municipality within the Sedibeng District Municipality in Gauteng. 10 |

What are the main economic activities of Midvaal? The main activities centre around manufacturing in the steel industry and manufacturing components, followed by some financial services and government services and trading. The manufacturing sector is positively linked to the steel industry with companies linked to downstream beneficiation. They tend to be small engineering companies and the mining sector has been a key contributor with Afrimat Mines and a few other quarries. Has your economy been affected by the problems in the steel industry? We struggled a bit when there were the challenges caused by the import of cheaper products from China. The immediate impact was that manufacturing production went down. Coupled with the unreliable electricity from Eskom and also the price of electricity, companies complained that it was making them uncompetitive. Our municipal income decreased because some companies went from running four premises to two premises so electricity revenue was reduced. What is council doing to assist existing businesses? Firstly, we must do our work, that is the most important thing for us to keep and retain or even attract businesses. I must ensure that efficient services are given which people are paying for. There is reliability and stability. When you go to a bigger company, then you can start intervening in specific ways. They might say, “Can we do a reservoir if the municipality does not have the money?” They build it and then donate it to the municipality. Then the municipality can look at a longer-term deal for water and electricity, assisting them to remain in the municipality. This is how we come up with practical solutions for growth. At most there must be two people and an executive committee which ultimately makes the decision to ensure that we remain competitive and agile in our ability to make decisions. Agile is not a word one often hears with regard to government. We often say to our businesses they must engage directly with our Head of Development and Planning. That is the first touch point. When there’s an escalation, it goes to myself and the Municipal Manager. That may result in a requirement for a decision by the mayoral committee or council so it goes back to the two people and one committee and a decision is to be made. If you are running at such a pace you make it nearly impossible for people not to want to invest in the area. Through word-of-mouth people say, in our area we had two calls and the issue was resolved, we met with the mayor. We made a compromise and we are moving ahead and a decision has been made. That type of agility is needed to ensure that we set the bar and ensure what a modern government can look like insofar as its ability, its agility and its sustainability. Biography Repaying a debt Bongani Baloyi grew up on the East Rand and clearly remembers the bloodshed of the 1990s. He can remember the smell of teargas. His commitment to public service had its origins in those years. Says Baloyi, “I think it has been frustration from a very young age that things were moving very slowly. I realised that society is not the way it should be.” He quickly worked out that his mother having to work as hard as she did for little return was “a function of human control”. It became “important for me to change the one thing” that could improve the lives of people, and decided that politics was the vehicle. He was schooled at well-resourced, formerly white schools, partly through the drive of his mother to ensure that her first-born had access to education and partly through the generosity of sponsors. Many times someone came forward to assist. Throughout my school education various people assisted. The difficult part for me is that there are many people whom I don’t know how to say thanks today to, because they wanted to remain anonymous. “So much of my approach to help those who can’t help themselves is to try to repay this debt. I would not be who I am today without that help from those who assisted me through schooling.” And start-ups? What we can do with regard to start-ups is very limited. We can streamline some of the procedures and the key question is which leg of these applications don’t require a permanent change of a land use. We might be able to go the consent route. What are the main economic sectors you are targeting? Residential has grown significantly. Farm portions are now settlements but that has also meant that the agriculture sector has declined. So we believe that with agro-processing and beneficiation down the value chain, we can harness the jobs that we need for the skill level of the unemployed. That way, it can be much more sustainable. The second part is tourism: with the biggest nature reserve in Gauteng and attractive water bodies, we can combine the wonders of nature with the political

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