The Gauteng Business Consultative Forum, launched last week, aims to cement partnerships between government, business and other sectors of society within the Gauteng City Region.

Gauteng premier David Makhura says the provincial government has spent time engaging with various stakeholders on its vision for the Gauteng City Region (GCR) over the next 15 years.

“Our vision is to build Gauteng as a seamlessly integrated, socially cohesive, economically inclusive city region; a leading economy on the African continent that is underpinned by smart, innovation-driven, knowledge-based, sustainable industries of the future; an accountable, responsive, transparent and clean government as well as an active citizenry.

“In order to advance towards this vision we will in the next fifteen years implement a programme of radical transformation, modernisation and re-industrialisation (TMR). This is our roadmap to realise the vision outlined in the National Development Plan.”

The TMR is anchored on 10 pillars:

* Radical economic transformation;

* Decisive spatial transformation;

* Accelerated social transformation;

* Transformation of the state and governance;

* Modernisation of the public service;

* Modernisation of the economy;

* Modernisation of human settlements and urban development;

* Modernisation of public transport infrastructure;

* Re-industrialisation of Gauteng; and

* Taking a lead in Africa’s new industrial revolution.

Among those who have engaged with the vision, says Makhura, are the CEOs of some of South Africa’s major listed companies.

“We have engaged with banks, fund managers, investment professionals, business chambers and various representatives of business organisations across the different industries and sectors,” he says. “We have also presented our vision and plan to potential investors and partners from other parts of the globe.

“Going forward we will engage more intensely with sister governments and potential partners on our continent. This we will do in line with the TMR imperative of taking a lead in Africa’s new industrial revolution.”

Makhura points out that all stakeholders agree on the urgent need to collaborate efforts as well as to combine our resources and expertise towards shared objectives.

“None of us acting alone can achieve the kind of massive impact we desire. Our engagements, in particular with the private sector, seek to give practical meaning to our view that the private sector is our partner in development. We fully appreciate the critical role the private sector plays in the growth and development for our economy.

“We know for instance that in our province, the private sector accounts for 80% of gross capital formation,” he says. “Equally, the private sector is currently the largest employer. The private sector also plays a significant role in promoting innovation, research and development all of which are critical in growing and developing our economy.”

Makhura adds that a common thread that has emerged in stakeholder discussions is the urgent need to create a platform where all those who have an interest in seeing Gauteng grow could meet and take forward, in more detail, the implementation of its plans. “Indeed, our stakeholders were very clear with us; they want to see action.”

The Gauteng Business Consultative Forum is the answer to this need, he says. “The GBCF will be a forum for action and not just another talk-shop. It will be a forum through we will transform, modernise and re-industrialise the Gauteng City Region economy.

“It will be a forum where as stakeholders we come together in a regular, more formal and structured manner to unlock the potential of the economy of the Gauteng City Region. In this forum we will be able to thrash out the detail of what is it that we need to do to create more jobs, to grow an inclusive economy, to increase investment as well as to address poverty and inequality.

“We look up to the Forum to rally all stakeholders behind the 10 pillars of the TMR,” Makhura says. “We also look up to the forum to find innovative ways of mobilising resources to fund the TMR priorities.

“More specifically, the Forum must help us, in a practical way to reach our strategic goal of a radically transformed economy within the Gauteng City Region; an economy that benefits all the people.

“We will equally rely on the forum to help strengthen our drive to ensure balanced and even development across the five development corridors of the Gauteng City Region.”

Makhura stress that the GBCF is not intended to duplicate existing structures nor will it replace the sector-specific platforms of engagement currently in existence, but will rather co-ordinate these engagements.

“Resolving the triple problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment require serious courage and tenacity,” he adds. “We expect the forum to tackle these problems head-on, without fear or favour, sparing no effort; driven only by the desire to do what is best for our province in the long-term.

“If we are to develop a social compact between the various stakeholders in our economy, the seeds of such a compact must be laid from within the forum.”