Gauteng Premier David Makhura says the revival of the Vaal into a green and inclusive economic zone is a key cog in the growth of the Gauteng economy.

He was speaking at the Sedibeng Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME) Conference. The gathering comes hot on the heels of the inaugural Sedibeng Investment Conference, which raised at least R40 billion in investment commitments to the Vaal economy.

Makhura said efforts to spark the Vaal economy are some of the biggest undertaken.

“The regeneration of the Vaal into a new, smart, green and more inclusive economy is the single biggest inter-governmental investment effort and public-private initiative that focuses on the District Development Model (DDM) to make Sedibeng investor friendly, economically and financially viable, as well as environmentally sustainable,” he said.

Makhura said the SMME conference presents an opportunity for government to engage with small businesses to find “interventions, opportunities and innovations” that will help grow SMMEs in the province.

“We are not here for a talk shop. Nor are we here to just cut a ribbon. The… conference must focus on how we get to shovel ready projects and turn the entire Vaal into a construction site in 2022.

“We must have a single-minded focus on getting shovel ready projects to the ground. We will do ribbon-cutting only when the projects are taking concrete shape on the ground,” he said.

The Premier said government is also determined to ensuring that the Vaal triangle “becomes a cornerstone of a new Special Economic Zone and Vaal River Smart City”.

This, he said, can be achieved through investment in infrastructure and public-private partnerships.

“We must shift the mindset of all stakeholders from treating the Vaal River and the Vaal Dam as a problem, to seeing the entire Vaal River system as an opportunity to build a Blue Economy, a new smart city, new logistics sector, and building the hub of the cannabis and hydrogen economy in the South of the Gauteng City Region,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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