Economics, not politics must drive inner cities

Nelson Mandela Bay business growth inner cities south africaThe development of South Africa’s cities is critical to creating jobs and improving economic growth rates, but without partnerships, finding niches, being uber competitive and technologically advanced, this will not happen, delegates at a development conference heard on the weekend.

An especially big stumbling block would be if politics rather than economics drove the development.

SA has the sub-structure in place to make it work, whereas other sprawling cities like Lagos do not even have that, yet Nigeria is tipped to become Africa’s economic engine.

The local government said it was prepared to support bold, new initiatives and provide funding to worthy projects and partner with the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) on urban renewal projects.

“As a leading city we are investing more and more,” said Deputy Mayor, Nancy Sihlwayi.

She said the government understood the need to benefit from global trade and to provide a stable and competitive economy that competes at a global level. Urban renewal in the metro is seen as a critical plank in this process, but crime, violence and environmental challenges also needed to be addressed.

Professor Nick Binedell, from the Gordon Institute of Business Science, said the pursuit of narrow political interests would hinder this growth, as economics, not politics would be the driver.

Binedell said visionary thinking was needed, as the economy drove the cities, noting that Johannesburg was built in only 20 years, driven by its niche, mining. It became to the world in the 1800’s what Shanghai is to the world today.

“We live in a time of unbelievable change, increasing technical and social complexity and significantly more competition,” Binedell cautioned.

But he said the fight for the future was deeply competitive as the fight for resources was political. “We will compete for our lunch.”

Hundreds of cities are lifting their people out of poverty, and Port Elizabeth is a tiny speck in this sea of cities.

Binedell said technological innovation was a key in the process, and said that a city had to find its own niche. Another part of that was linking in with social change and bringing the young generation into the loop.

This comes as the MBDA is pulling its youth and other interested inhabitants together in an inner city run on Sunday along the new Route 67, that uses art to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 67 years in public life, along the paths walked in the 1994 election.

It is also spending hundreds of millions to boost the inner city and wants a new harbour and beachfront development to drive tourism and jobs. It aims to use the city’s culture and history as its niche and to move past its motor-manufacturing base towards more tertiary sector development and diversified business base.

SA cities have had a rough time over the last couple of years, but infrastructure upgrades can create jobs, reverse brain drains and lead to economic diversification, according to MBDA CEO Pierre Voges.

Port Elizabeth is mainly based on motor manufacturing, while the tertiary sector has not developed over the past 20 years. But the MBDA aims to boost tourism and jobs into the Eastern Cape economy and has already spent R250 million on improving the municipal infrastructure in the CBDs of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.

“We are not trying to be like Johannesburg or Cape Town,” said Voges. The aim is to turn the manufacturing base and working mentality into a positive. He said infrastructure upgrades like those currently taking place in the inner city were already bringing entrepreneurs back into the region.

One stumbling block is seen as an ore terminal blighting the shoreline and creating health concerns.

Voges called the relationship with Transnet Port Terminals as “rocky”, but that far better cooperation was now happening as the port was so important to the region’s economy. The Port Elizabeth port alone has seen a threefold increase in tonnage shipped since 2005.

The 350,000 tonne manganese ore terminal between Kings Beach and the Port Elizabeth Harbour has for years been blamed for upsetting the beachfront aesthetics and potentially causing health problems. A new beachfront development and harbour upgrade is expected to replace the facility once it is moved to either Coega, Africa’s biggest industrial zone development just outside Port Elizabeth, or Saldanha.

source: Business Times

Work on R3,1 Million Clinic Site in KwaNobuhle Starts Today

The contractor, appointed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to build a R3,1 million clinic in KwaNobuhle (Uitenhage), will start with the clearing of the site on Monday, indicating the beginning of better Primary Healthcare Services to the community of Gunuluza. Construction is expected to start a week later.

The building of a new 460 square meter clinic, to be situated on erf 21957, 75 Bantom Street, was necessitated since the Mabandla Clinic with three consulting rooms became too small to accommodate the more than 10 900 clients that visit the clinic monthly. As a result nurses shared consulting room space and the inadequate pharmacy room space and small waiting areas did not add value to a visit to this facility as well.

This is now a thing of the past as the new clinic will have six (6) consulting rooms, two waiting areas, a treatment room, a pharmacy, office space and more to enable dignified services to a community with a high prevalence of TB, HIV and High Blood Pressure.

Addressing an appreciative crowd at the sod turning this week, Public Health Standing Committee Chairperson, Cllr Nancy Sihlwayi, encouraged the community to immediately take ownership of the project and to act if they see anything untoward happening on the building site. She said the community is responsible for protecting the new building since it will impact their lives directly in a positive way.

“I appreciate the fact that we can give hope to this community today,” she added.

Sihlwayi also reminded residents that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is the only municipality in the Eastern Cape that deliberately budget and build clinics since the erection of Primary Healthcare Facilities is the constitutional responsibility of Provincial Government.

Dr Ebrahim Hoosain, Acting Executive Director of Public Health, said it is an honour to deliver the clinic and that efficient health services will be provided to so many people.

source: Posted by MyPE on Monday, May 11 @ 12:04:26 SAST