REMARKS BY EC PREMIER AT THE SARAH BAARTMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT

Programme Director: Ms booi

Ministers and DMs present

Members of the Executive Council

Mayors of our Municipalities

Municipal Managers and other government officials

The business sector

Distinguished guests

Good morning to you all.

We gather here under the them “we are engine for growth” not only to discuss the development trajectory of the district , but also to enact policies that foster an enabling environment for socioe-conomic structural transformation, human capital development, and local business proliferation, all aimed at achieving an inclusive economy and eradicating poverty.

The unique beauty and richness of Sarah Baartman District are undeniable, and our efforts should align to unlock its full potential. You are a diverse district, home to seven local municipalities – Dr Beyers Naude, Blue Crane Route, Makana, Ndlambe, Sunday’s River Valley, Kouga and Kou Kamma. Each of these municipalities brings a unique character and distinct potential for growth, be it through national art festivals, adventure activities, bird watching or the internationally recognised eco-tourism game reserves. Our district’s strength lies in this variety, and we must capitalise on this distinct identity to attract meaningful investment.

However, economic growth and spatial development are unsuccessful when pursued in isolation. To truly thrive, we must also invest in social development. The leadership of Sarah Baartman, together with the provincial and national government, are empowered to jointly support the spatial, productivity and well-being of the pole of Saraah Bartman through the development of One District , One Plan based on the DDM for ensuring that the IDP process responds to people’s needs and expectations.

In addition, we should actively encourage Business to Business Opportunities with multinational partners and ensure the government’s adopted space-based policy for targeted development is operational in all three spheres of government. Building transport corridors, mobilising national funding initiatives for local industry, exploiting our unique natural resources, and investing in human capital are all vital steps towards achieving our goal.

Guiding our policy actions for economic growth and development, we need a people-centric approach which requires us to:

Explain: Our research must aim to understand the drivers of underdevelopment, migration, and low economic productivity to provide comprehensive solutions.

Estimate: We need robust economic analysis to ensure our resources are invested in high-yield, feasible, and sustainable projects.

Participate: All critical government, community, and business actors must align their efforts to the district’s economic development needs, community well-being, and sustainability.

Build Fiscal Capacity: To ensure robust and accountable governance, we must establish fiscally responsible practices, build controls, and enhance reporting requirements.

Invest in Infrastructure: This is key to promoting and enabling a conducive environment for rapid industry productivity.

Prioritise: Our focus should narrow towards spatial inequalities, underdeveloped areas, and regions with poor infrastructure for social services.

Only then can we foster a resilient community and thriving business landscape. The task at hand is immense, but together, we possess the capacity to achieve it. The Sarah Baartman District is poised for transformation, and together we can make it a model for sustainable development, economic prosperity, and social well-being.

As we forge ahead, let us remember that the seeds of progress we sow today are the fruits our children, and their children after them, will reap. Our responsibility is to lay a foundation for their future rich in opportunities, promise, and prosperity.

To do this, we must commit to strategic actions promoting growth across various sectors. In the realm of Energy, we need to explore the possibility of harnessing wind power and other renewable energy sources, which Sarah Baartman District is abundantly blessed with.

My message for you today aims to sharpen your attention to key economic growth areas. As you all know, our country has an energy challenge that is crippling our economy. There can be no economic growth without reliable energy for industries.

The research on the Cost of Load-Shedding on Business has revealed that load-shedding has negatively impacted revenues through primarily inability to trade. It has also increased the cost of doing business.

Since the appointment of the Minister of Electricity to lead The National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM), there has been notable improvement of the Energy Availability Factor through ESKOM’s existing fleet of power stations. The latest Cabinet Statement noted the improvement in Eskom’s energy availability factor, which is now closer to 70%. This was attributed to about 400 megawatts (MW) which were recently added to the grid and improved planned maintenance. Ending loadshedding needs to become a unifying national goal for the whole country and all stakeholders. Everyone should do their part to achieve this overriding single goal.

In the SOPA we said “…Our province is playing an active role in offering sustainable solutions to the country’s energy challenges…We are a suitable environment for the energy mix that our country is pursuing, and we have the capacity to host wind farms, solar farms, gas fired power plants and roof-top solar systems. We tick all the boxes and investors must look in our direction to locate their green energy projects.”

This District is an area that can play a significant role to leverage the local Energy Mix, fostering the rise of renewable energy and prioritising investment in pivotal sectors. We must target to build more solar and wind power projects in this district to ensure that new generation capacity is rapidly and urgently brought onto the grid, together with significant new storage capacity.

By investing in research and development, we can convert our natural endowment into an energy powerhouse that will not only fuel our district but also position us as a leader in the renewable energy sector.

Our Agriculture sector is ripe for growth, and this District is a producer of citrus and wool which are exported to world markets. We must nurture, protect and grow the agricultural sector of this District for the benefit of our people and our provincial economy. Our Agriculture sector needs revitalisation and transformation. With our fertile lands and dedicated and resilient farming communities, we can stimulate the development of both large and small-scale farming operations.

Let’s promote sustainable developmental practices, introduce innovative technologies, promote agro processing and ensure the availability of financial support. This approach will stimulate job creation, enhance food security, and boost our economy. Regarding Tourism and the Creative Industries, the possibilities are endless. Our unique heritage, the breathtaking natural scenery, and the array of activities make the Sarah Baartman District a must-visit destination for local and international tourists.

By promoting and investing in the infrastructure and services that support this sector, we can diversify our economy and enhance our district’s global recognition. Let’s not forget that investment opportunities lie not only in the conventional sectors but also in sustainable spatial development. As we develop our physical landscape, let’s be guided by sustainability principles, ensuring that we preserve the beauty and integrity of our natural environment, even as we build for progress.

In addition to developing our business sectors, we must prioritise social development and invest in the services that directly impact the quality of life of our citizens. Quality education, healthcare, social security, and housing should be on our agenda. These are not just basic needs; they are fundamental rights that our citizens must enjoy.

To navigate these ambitious plans, we need to follow a people-centric approach. We need to:

Innovate: Foster a culture of creativity and innovation that drives economic growth and community development.

Collaborate: Work with various stakeholders, including government, business, and civil society, to realise our shared vision for the district.

Empower: Invest in our people through education and skills development to equip them with the tools they need to contribute effectively to the district’s development.

Sustain: Ensure our development strategies are sustainable and balance economic growth with preserving our district’s natural and cultural heritage.

In conclusion, the journey ahead may be challenging, but together we can conquer. The Sarah Baartman District holds tremendous potential, and with our combined efforts, I am confident that we can transform it into a hub of economic prosperity, social development, and sustainable growth.

I look forward to the journey ahead, confident that our collective resolve and commitment will bring about the transformation we envisage. Together, let’s shape the future of the Sarah Baartman District.

I thank you.

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