Western Cape to Establish Development Agency

Pretoria - A development agency is to be established in the Western Cape, in an effort to attract investment to the province, says Premier Helen Zille.

"We are currently planning the establishment of a Western Cape Economic Development Agency," Zille said on Friday as she delivered the State of the Province Address in the Western Cape Legislature.

A plan for the new agency will be given to the premier by the end of June. "Provided all the relevant processes are properly completed in time, we hope to have the agency up and running by the beginning of the 2012 financial year," she said.

The premier said economic and employment growth was at the forefront of the provincial government's agenda for the coming year. This is line with President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address which placed job creation at the forefront of government's action plan for 2011.

"Unless we ensure that everyone has the chance to get a job, the South African dream will never be more than a dream. A job is a passport out of poverty and the start of the path to prosperity," she explained.

She, however, added that growing businesses creates jobs and that government's job is to create an environment that attracts investors as well as encourages innovation and supports initiative.

Zille said in order to do this corruption should be eradicated. "Corruption is stealing from the poor, those most in need of the state's assistance. Corruption makes poor people poorer."

In addition to getting a rid of corruption, the right infrastructure needed for growth and job creation is necessary while also encouraging the start up of businesses.

The provincial government is in the process of establishing a unit in the Department of Economic Development and Tourism dedicated to identifying opportunities to cut red-tape.

"We will engage the City of Cape Town and other governments on establishing an intergovernmental team to cut back red tape. We hope to get together an external team from the private sector to critique our efforts and identify bottle-necks that we have failed to open up," Zille explained.

The province should also work with the private sector and higher education sectors to attract investors, tourists and students to the region.

- BuaNews