It is a great honour to be sworn-in as the Western Cape’s Minister for Finance and Economic Opportunities.

I would like to thank Premier Alan Winde for entrusting me with this responsibility, and I would also like to acknowledge the excellent work done by my predecessor, Minister David Maynier. I thank him for the strong foundation that I have to build on.

I wish him well in his new role as the Provincial Minister of Education, which is critical to ensure that our learners have the necessary skills that they need to enter the job market.

I fully appreciate the immense responsibility that now falls on me, as we look to deliver opportunity and hope in the Western Cape.

I take this responsibility seriously and, in all that I do, I will consider myself ‘on the job, to create jobs’ in the Western Cape.

There can be no greater priority for our province right now, especially given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy and on the livelihoods of many of our residents.

We must claw-back the jobs lost during this time, but more than this, it is my strong view that we need to aim even higher.

It is not enough to have the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa, as important as that is. We need to be a shining example of rapid economic growth that creates the jobs that we need to roll-back poverty. This is our unwavering objective.

To do this, we must continue to proudly embrace the principle that it is the private sector that creates jobs. As government, it is our role to adopt policies to enable this.

We also need to be bold, to embrace innovation and ensure collaboration so that we get this job done efficiently. This will include the whole-of-government, in the jobs cluster for example, the new departments of infrastructure and mobility which will be key to enabling private-sector led growth and job creation in the future.

In my first week, I will be meeting with our teams to develop my plan of action to drive growth and job creation in the Western Cape.

Shaping these discussions will be my strategic focus on a number of core areas:

  • We must make it even easier to do business in the Western Cape so that the private sector can do its job of creating jobs;
  • We must increase our partnerships with the private sector, including in the informal sector, so that we can be responsive to the needs of our job-creators;
  • We must back entrepreneurs and small businesses, who are the engines of our economy;
  • We must invest in our people through targeted skills programmes so that they can leverage the opportunities that the private sector creates;
  • We must enable innovation, not only in our economy, but also in our government, so that we deliver the services our economy needs to grow;
  • And we must entrench our province’s resilience, especially our energy resilience so that we remain on-track to be the first province to beat load-shedding.

At the very foundation of everything we do must be our commitment to good and clean governance in the Western Cape. Because when we spend your money properly, we also create the right conditions for growth, job creation, and we inspire confidence in our province.

To do this, we must continue to maintain our exemplary record of sound financial management through a strong Provincial Treasury.

During my first week, I will seek to learn from the many brilliant people that work in the Western Cape’s ‘growth ecosystem’ to inspire fresh and bold ideas.

  • I will personally meet with as many employees of the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and the Provincial Treasury as possible so that we form a strong team from the get-go to drive our jobs agenda.
  • I will immediately meet with our growth engines, Wesgro, the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone and the Atlantis Special Economic Zone for Green Technology to receive a briefing on our investment and project pipeline.
  • I will visit the Port of Cape Town to personally get an update on its operations, indicating our government’s clear commitment to leverage job-creating infrastructure in our province.
  • And I will engage with the private sector, including in the informal sector, and listen to them about their concerns, and ideas.

While we have so much to be proud of in the Western Cape, we know that there is still much more work to be done.

That is why, I can say, with great passion and determination, that I am ‘on the job to create jobs’ in our province.

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