Breakthrough for growth

Ilembe Chamber of Commerce Xolani Gumede with Ilembe District mayor Sduduzo Gumede.

The iLembe District Municipality and the iLembe Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on November 1, resulting in the establishment of the iLembe District Economic Development Facilitation Committee.

The MOU was signed by the Mayor of the iLembe District, Cllr Sduduzo Gumede and the President of the iLembe Chamber, Xolani Gumede.

Its purpose is to create a platform from which local government, business, organized labour and civil society can promote investment, economic development and the resulting job creation in the iLembe District.

According to Mayor Gumede, a clear vision for the local iLembe economy is essential, and a close working partnership with the local business community is essential in maximizing investment in the district.

Excited at the agreement which has taken years in the making, Ilembe Chamber CEO Cobus Oelofse said the goals were better communication between business and government, stripping away red tape that hinders development and to decide the strategic direction of the region.

“What need to be addressed are what level of growth people of the region want to see, what kind of industries should be established, where growth should take place and how jobs can be created,” said Oelofse.

Also read: The will to succeed

Those who will be taking part in the committee are the five mayors of Ilembe District, the chamber (representing business), organised labour and civil society.

The primary legislative, regulatory and policy basis for the Economic Development Facilitation Committee is derived from commitments contained in the South African Constitution, which requires municipalities to promote social and economic development and be development oriented.

The white paper on local government highlights its responsibilities aimed at ensuring that economic and social conditions are conducive to the creation of employment opportunities.

This includes, amongst others, the provision of enabling infrastructure, simplifying existing procedures, speeding up approval procedures and processes and the introduction of policies aimed at poverty alleviation and enhancing job creation.

Oelofse said while there were plenty of bodies at a national level talking about development, his experience was that little was being done at the coalface at local level.

“The breakdown is often about personalities and we need to be able to continue talking to one another irrespective of changing circumstances, such as elections, for example.

“The arrival of new players on the scene should not change the level of engagement between parties in a region,” he said.

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