Man­u­fac­tur­ing big­gest cash boost in Ekurhu­leni

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

THE MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ING sec­tor in Ekurhu­leni re­mains the largest, ac­count­ing for 21.5% of the to­tal gross value ad­di­tion (GVA), fol­lowed by the ser­vice sec­tor at 20.7% and fi­nance sec­tor at 20.5%.

This was re­vealed by mem­ber of the may­oral com­mit­tee (MMC) Nkosindiphile Xhakaza, who was speak­ing at the launch of the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Ind­aba at Em­per­ors Palace yes­ter­day.

Ekurhu­leni’s man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, he said, con­sti­tuted an aver­age of 27.9% to the over­all GVA in Gaut­eng.

“This ac­counts for 11.4% of the coun­try’s over­all GVA in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

“It is clear that Ekurhu­leni re­mains a man­u­fac­tur­ing hub for both the prov­ince and South Africa in gen­eral,” Xhakaza noted.

The MMC said that de­spite the fi­nan­cial cli­mate, this sec­tor pro­vided em­ploy­ment to more than 150 000 ci­ti­zens of the metro.

How­ever, he said the dy­nam­ics of the global econ­omy had had ma­jor ef­fects on the do­mes­tic econ­omy in re­cent times.

“Th­ese neg­a­tive con­di­tions es­ca­lated be­tween 2008 and 2014 as the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis in­ten­si­fied, among oth­ers, in the eu­ro­zone, which is South Africa’s lead­ing trade part­ner. This meant there was a se­ri­ous de­cline in de­mand for our man­u­fac­tured goods.”

Be­fore the cri­sis, Xhakaza said, Ekurhu­leni had a pos­i­tive growth trend in the over­all ex­ports sec­tor with ex­ports grow­ing from R10 bil­lion in 2003 to above R40bn in 2008 through the met­als man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try.

“We started to ex­pe­ri­ence a sharp de­cline be­tween 2008 and 2009 which has been fol­lowed by an un­sta­ble trend of growth and de­cline since 2009 to date.”

He said the em­ploy­ment rate in the in­dus­try had de­clined by 13.7% over the past 20 years.

How­ever, the over­all growth had started to pick up, but em­ploy­ment cre­ation had re­mained lower than the re­quired rate since the 2008 cri­sis.

“De­spite all of th­ese chal­lenges to growth in man­u­fac­tur­ing, in our strate­gic de­vel­op­ment plans this sec­tor re­mains an im­por­tant area around which we forecast our re­gional growth prospects. This is an im­por­tant fac­tor since our re­gion bat­tles a high un­em­ploy­ment area of about 34%,” he said.

There­fore, the metro’s re­gional eco­nomic im­per­a­tives were cen­tred around strength­en­ing its man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries as well as mak­ing strate­gic in­vest­ment in town­ship in­dus­trial estates and parks, as well as re­in­forc­ing the cul­ture of en­trepreneur­ship by lever­ag­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s pro­cure­ment spend­ing to grow in­vest­ment and sup­port lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, he said.

This ind­aba, said Xhakaza, needed to re­flect on this sit­u­a­tion and dis­cuss pos­si­ble ini­tia­tives that busi­ness and the gov­ern­ment could im­ple­ment.

“We need to work to­gether to turn the tide and place our man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries and over­all econ­omy on a bet­ter per­for­mance tra­jec­tory in the third quar­ter of 2017 and be­yond,” he said.

‘This sec­tor is im­per­a­tive to forecast re­gional growth prospects’

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