Opinion

Seven steps that a Good government will take to make for a better SA

03 March 2019 - 00:00 By Patricia de Lille


For the past 25 years, politicians and successive governments have said they can create jobs. This is a lie: the government cannot create jobs on its own.
The role of the government is to create the conditions for investment. Investment grows our economy and creates jobs.
Unemployment is our greatest challenge because our economic growth is lower than the population growth and because of policy uncertainty.
Under my leadership as mayor of Cape Town from 2011, the unemployment rate in the city was just less than one percentage point below the national average. At the beginning of 2018 we had reduced that to almost six percentage points below the national average, the lowest of any city in SA.
Reduced unemployment happens by design, careful planning and through action.
To enable us to meet the needs of business to bring more investment, the government must develop a check list of the requirements to ensure investment for growth. Below is the list of some of the conditions that a Good government will provide.
1. GOOD LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The role of government is to invest in infrastructure to stimulate growth. We must prioritise investment in infrastructure - focusing on new roads in our worst-congested areas and improving public transport, housing, and water and digital infrastructure. In Cape Town we split our R6bn infrastructure annual budget on new infrastructure (60%) and on maintaining and repairing existing infrastructure (40%). To invest on infrastructure, the government needs to spend smarter, not more.
2. CLEAN AND EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT
A Good government will reduce the staff-to-resident ratios to make the government more efficient, by introducing an organisational development transformation plan.
Through the plan and transversal management we can achieve better service delivery.
Cape Town achieved four consecutive clean audits and for the past two years, unqualified audits. There is a moral obligation on all governments to ensure that every cent is spent on improving the lives of its citizens. Clean government leads to a better credit rating that investors look for. We must deal with corruption because corruption steals from the poor.
3. BROADBAND CONNECTIVITY
A Good government will invest more in broadband and open access to high-speed internet, attracting tech businesses. In Cape Town we rolled out about 850km of fibreoptic cable. We connected all government buildings, which brought a huge saving in telephone costs, and rented our spare capacity to the private sector. In 2018, Cape Town's tech sector was the largest in Africa, employing up to 50,000 people. To participate in the fourth industrial revolution we must start with building this infrastructure.
4. STABLE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY
I initiated and led the fight for cities to procure renewable energy directly from independent power producers. It will secure power supply and enable cheaper, lower-emission energy and break Eskom's corrupt, expensive and unreliable monopoly.
5. ACCESS TO THE REST OF THE WORLD
Direct air access between cities and the world is key to attracting investment. That is why, in partnership with Wesgro, Cape Town engaged directly with international airlines and aviation authorities around the world. This attracted additional direct flights between Cape Town and several African cities, Europe and the Middle East.
6. RED CARPET, NOT RED TAPE
We need to review legislation that stifles the growth of small, medium and micro-sized enterprises. I set up a one-stop shop to help investors with advice on the legislative requirements. We never lost a potential investor because of bureaucratic blockages.
7. INCENTIVISED GROWTH
A Good government will provide financial and nonfinancial incentives and protect many jobs in declining industries and encourage new manufacturing investment.
It is the record of delivery that the Good leadership wants to share with SA. Growing our economy, attracting the right industries and reducing unemployment requires Good planning, and action.
• De Lille is leader of the Good party

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