Johannesburg’s mayoral head for economic development Nkululeko Mbundu has announced a new R30 billion investment, which will see significant upgrades made to the city.

Mbundu said the plan will rely primarily on private sector trade and investment, with the proposal expected to create significant economic growth and job creation.

He said the city can become ‘limitless’ and compete with international counterparts like New York, and Paris among others.

“When we talk about trade and investment, our role is to make it easy for investments to come to the city, and secondly, to have a well-run and well-governed city.

“Once the systems function, then we are limitless in terms of the investment we can attract into Johannesburg. We would like to get the city of Johannesburg to function effectively. Get the basics right so that we can attract the investment that can convert Johannesburg into a destination of choice,” he said.

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Tourism and a new precinct 

Mbundu said the city plans to attract investment from both local and international investors in the infrastructure, property, agriculture, logistics, energy, tourism, and technology sectors.

He noted that Joburg townships have massive opportunities for tourism. The City is also looking into investing more resources in township tourism and revitalising Joburg as a viable travel, leisure, and vacation destination.

“Investors will get a good return for investing their money in the City of Johannesburg. This is a business-friendly city,” he said.

“We’re going big on public and private partnerships. It is the private sector that will help us drive economic growth. The private sector has the capability and capacity. Not just the private sector, but also academia from a research perspective,” he said.

Another project in the pipeline is the rejuvenation of the inner city. Part of it includes converting more places into green precincts, identifying, and reclaiming hijacked buildings; as well as the possibility of converting the historic Drill Hall into an arts and culture precinct.

“The inner city is a good place to start because it’s the heart of Johannesburg. I would like to see regional decentralisation. Instead of people having to travel from far and wide, trade should happen in their regions. This will be achieved by declaring priority economic zones, which will save residents time and money.”

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Financial services and safety

In addition to tourism and rejuvenation efforts, Mbundu said the plan will see city grow its status as the economic hub of South Africa.

“It is therefore important that a financial services hub becomes investment attractive and grows beyond what it currently is in terms of value. The value here for investors is access to the market of the six million people that live in the City and the value for the residents of the City is a cleaner, safer Johannesburg that improves their quality of life,” he says.

Mbundu noted that despite Johannesburg being a centre of economic activity, it won’t remain so if “we don’t work hard on safety and security”.

“That’s why various strategies have been implemented toward a cleaner and safer city. In early 2022, more than 1n800 Johannesburg Metro Police Officers (JMPD) were deployed in the inner city to kick lawlessness to the curb and start block-by-block patrols. A new informal trading policy is in the implementation phase to regulate informal trading in Johannesburg.”

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