Robust engagement to improve Limpopo’s economic outlook

Robust engagement to improve Limpopo’s economic outlook

Limpopo Province has emerged from a robust engagement on its economic outlook at the Premier’s Economic Growth Advisory Council (PEGAC) held in Zebula, Bela-Bela Municipality on 23 March 2023.

The Premier of Limpopo Mr. Chupu Stanley Mathabatha told the Council that whilst latest statistics reflect lower employment figures for Limpopo as compared to the previous quarter, this is not yet enough to fight poverty and unemployment.

“Despite the adverse macroeconomic pressures Limpopo Province created 133 000 jobs in Quarter 4 of 2022. Limpopo is among the top five provinces that recorded the largest increases in employment. It is among the top five provinces that recorded the largest increases in employment. Jobs were significantly created in Trade (44 000), Mining (35 000) and Finance (31 000). Official unemployment rate is now 2,1 per cent point down from 33,9 per cent in Q4: 2021 to 31,8 per cent in Q4: 2022,” said Premier Mathabatha said.

Premier Mathabatha went on to say: “Let us use the opportunity to work beyond these figures and allow for the provincial economy to grow. We should capitalise on competitive urge, the geographical location allows for more usage towards solar energy and other forms of energy. This will create employment and grow the GDP of the province.”

PEGAC is an advisory body that meets on a half yearly basis to advise the Premier on economic growth matters as well as monitor how the Limpopo Development Plan is implemented.

The Council has six technical working groups focusing on agriculture and tourism; development finance, trade and investment; integrated infrastructure development; ICT, innovation and knowledge-enabled economy; nation building and social cohesion; and industrial and enterprise development.

There was a greater appreciation on the progress being made in integrated infrastructure, especially the partnership between the mines and the provincial government in the construction of roads in various parts of the province. The R37 that links north to south is one such example wherein the mining houses have invested in its rehabilitation. It is expected that, in the long term, the link between Burgesfort and Polokwane would be smoother as the initial construction of 20 kilometres has begun from Burgersfort.

The construction of steel bridge at Ga-Malekana was another example of a fruitful partnership between nine mines in the eastern limb and the provincial government. Other roads projects highlighted were those that will be totally funded by government like the interchange on the R71 road around Moria to allow ease of access to St.Engenas ZCC church. Plans are also afoot for the rehabilitation of the N11 as well R555. The N1 upgrade will see it as a catalytic development that will easily connect the SADC and the Limpopo Province.

The industrialisation of the province was also high on the agenda with notable progress reported in the two special economic zones, Musina-Makhado and Fetakgomo-Tubatse Industrial Park. The Council was alerted about progress made on the North Site of the MMSEZ as well as process towards designation of Fetakgomo-Tubatse as an SEZ. The Council implored that quick steps should be taken to conclude some of the outstanding items like litigations that are currently in place. It emphasised the matter of stakeholder relations and communication to enhance total buy in that will engender development.

The Council concluded that there should be less talk and more work so that planned projects and programmes are not overtaken by new developments, especially on matters of IT or 4IR in general.

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