'Let's market our towns to investors,' Ramaphosa tells ANC members
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa wants party members to push for investment in local governments in the run-up to this year's municipal elections.
“We must market our towns and local government areas to would-be investors with a view to create employment. We must become advocates of investment,” he said.
Ramaphosa was giving a virtual address to the ANC's Norman Mashabane regional conference on Monday, when he spoke about the importance of reviving local economies to create meaningful local jobs.
Key to attracting investors to local municipalities would be electing credible leaders and local government councillor candidates, he said.
“Our people want to see that we are going to deploy capable people who can demonstrate that they can do the work, not just a comrade who knows slogans and to toyi-toyi. That is part of what has been our downfall. We need comrades who will work and will look after the money of the people.
“I want, as we go towards this local government election, as we elect people, let’s elect capable people — the type of mayors or leaders at local government that can go to Gauteng or Cape Town and speak to these companies and be able to say, 'Come and invest',” he said.
He said municipalities should be able to lure investors and talk to them about the value and benefits the companies would get if they invested in their municipality.
“This revolves around getting capable people,” said Ramaphosa.
While citizens in the main complained about unemployment, corruption and factionalism in the ANC, the other problem people have was the lack of service delivery, he said.
He cited the example of dairy food and beverage company Clover which is moving its cheese factory from Lichtenburg in the North West to Queensburgh in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, over poor service delivery. He said the company was shutting down in the North West because it was not getting support from the local government.
“Local government in the North West has collapsed,” he admitted.
He suggested this should be a lesson for others because meaningful jobs are created at the local level.
“Investment takes place at local government level, it doesn’t take place at the Union Buildings,” he said.
Ramaphosa said to create a conducive climate for investors, municipalities would also have to reduce red tape and grant all necessary processes in a short space of time.
“When people want to invest they come to us for various things like offices and applying for permits and we push them from one office to another. People lose that enthusiasm,” he warned.
He said it is going to be important for ANC members, when out campaigning for local government elections to be able to say to voters, the party has turned a new leaf, and be able to cite and identify the actions that the party has taken.