Championing Economic Growth for All
23 November 2021
STATEMENT BY ALDERMAN JAMES VOS
I am happy to announce that I will be returning as the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.
They say you are blessed when you are afforded the opportunity to do what you care about and positively influence what you believe in.
It is my great honour to accept this position and I will continue to work with passion to serve the people of Cape Town.
I want to wholeheartedly thank the officials and colleagues in working with me in this position. I have been blessed with a dedicated and caring team who constantly support me, and above all, believe in public service.
The recovery from the COVID-19 crisis must lead to a different economy.
Everything we do must be with a strong focus on building a more equal, inclusive and sustainable economy.
Thus, we must monitor our economy, and understand what makes it move forward.
For most Capetonians right now, various challenges, including the state of our economy, are causing sleepless nights. In my previous tenure as the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities, I have seen just what accessibility – and a lack thereof – means for people.
This is why it was vitally important for me to oversee the formulation and adoption of the Inclusive Economic Growth Strategy (IEGS). This plan will be the foundation for further developing the City’s economic opportunities and growth systems.
Because there is no quick fix for the complexity of issues facing any country or city, this IEGS has been formulated with input from academic and industry experts and takes into account Cape Town’s particular socio-economic landscape and the global village in which it exists.
Our approach to the economy is both broad and sectoral because we understand that Cape Town is made up of diverse industries that provide a range of job and growth opportunities. From clothing and design, to call centres and green energy, marine manufacturing and information technology, through our business partners, the City government has secured billions of Rands in investments, created thousands of jobs, and trained thousands more in work readiness.
The scale of the challenges before us may seem insurmountable, particularly after what we have been through in the past year and a half. But we have faced challenges many times before and together, we have met them head-on.
Looking to the future I will make the implementation and fulfilment of the IEGS my top priority to provide as much support as possible to those sectors that show the best promise of driving demand in our economy, while simultaneously helping those industries who have been hardest hit during this crisis.
When it comes to the ease of doing business, I will continue to consider measures for cutting the cost of compliance, reducing the cost of doing business, and introducing programmes to support sustainable business growth.
Under my watch, small businesses will continue to be the engine room of growth by providing the right mix of smart procurement and supplier development support. This will help build on their recovery and expansion.
From my perspective, urban planning is an invaluable tool to unlock economic opportunities and development. For example, a well-planned and functioning city is an efficient city that can lessen commuter cost and time, reduce congestion costs and other negative externalities. If we can take it one step further, beyond function and efficiency, towards liveability and attractiveness, together we will generate even greater economic benefits.
Our achievements should never be measured by the speeches we make, but by the vigour we put in our resolve to improve the economic prospects of our city and the living conditions of Capetonians.
This is not necessarily a moment to celebrate, but one for gathering greater strength and purpose, in preparation to continue our journey to do more and ultimately to get things done.
As the old cliché goes, where there’s a will (especially political will), there’s a way. If we completely abandon the will to understand our situation, and then to plan, there may never even be a starting point for change.