Western Cape to pilot NDP projects

25 February 2013

South Africa's Western Cape province will pilot three National Development Plan (NDP) projects, provincial premier Helen Zille said on Friday.

"We have been chosen to pilot three crucial initiatives under the NDP: the reduction of red tape; the creation of an economic development partnership to facilitate growth and jobs; and an after-school programme to keep young people involved in productive activities in the afternoons," she said.

The province had also decided to expand its version of the youth wage subsidy, known as the work and skills programme, to give more young people a chance to participate in the economy.

Zille's comments were contained in a speech prepared for her state-of-the-province address and opening of the provincial legislature in Cape Town.

She said never before had the country had a national plan which all major political parties subscribed to.

'Good leadership at every level'

"This is a milestone for our country. We agree that to tackle our many problems and the legacy of the past, we need good leadership at every level of society, a capable state, and an active citizenry."

"This cabinet agrees with Minister [in the Presidency] Trevor Manuel that the time for discussing the plan is over; the time for implementation has begun."

The province already had in place a red-tape reduction unit.

Zille said that of the 921 administrative bottlenecks reported since August 2011, 89.3 percent had been successfully cleared.

To further speed processes up, the province was looking at regulations and by-laws hindering economic development, and also streamlining the approval of building plans.

Regarding economic development, the Enterprise Development Fund had been created, which distributed R1.7-million to help finance new businesses.

Over R442-million was invested in skills development programmes in the past financial year.

The work and skills programme had been in place since August 2009.

The programme had provided at least 2 800 job opportunities for unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 35.

Zille said the Development Bank of SA had granted R64 million to build the programme, which would help create 1 000 new work opportunities each year for three years.

The NDP was tabled in Parliament last August as a growth plan for the country until 2030. President Jacob Zuma announced in his state-of-the-nation address last week that government had begun drafting a strategic framework for "the first five-year building block" of the NDP, 2014 to 2019.

Sapa

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Job creation is at the heart of the government's social and economic development programmes (Photo: Bongani Nkosi, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com)

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