KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY NORTH WEST PREMIER, PROF TEBOGO JOB MOKGORO, AT THE PROVINCIAL ECONOMIC RECOVERY SUMMIT HELD AT THE SUN CITY RESORT ON MONDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2020

Programme Director, Mr Lufhuno Tshikovhi
Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Hon
Obed Bapela
MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and
Tourism, Hon Kenetswe Mosenogi
Members of the Executive Council present
Honourable Mayors
Prof Daniel Meyer from the University
Mr Boyse Pillay from the CSIR
Statistician General, Mr Risenga Maluleke
Captains of Industry
Chairpersons and Chief Executive Officers of State and Public entities
Representatives of National Government Departments
Heads of the Provincial Government Departments
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Business formations
Members of the media
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning.
It is my honour and privilege to be standing before you on this historic
day to collectively chart a road map towards economic recovery as well
as putting in place the much needed systems in place to ensure a
growth path for our economy; an economy that has been severely
battered in the recent past, especially by the outbreak of the novel
Coronavirus.
Scholars and economists, across the globe, all agree that the COVID-19
pandemic has had an unprecedented reach and impact on various
facets of life, including the health, political and socio-economic systems
of various countries around the world.
Never before has the world found itself reeling on the effects of one
global phenomenon that has drastically changed the landscape of world
interconnected economies forever; COVID-19 has done that and in our
case, worsened our then already ailing economy as a province and as a
country.
We are, therefore, all gathered to here to set ourselves a new goaldirected path, which will contribute positively to the target of economic
recovery, growth, job creation and poverty alleviation in our province.
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These are the targets that we had agreed on and set for ourselves at the
beginning of the current administration and dare not falter in our quest to
collectively achieve those targets.
As I had mentioned earlier, we gather here today under tough conditions
wherein we find ourselves having to grapple with the challenges that
have come with the outbreak of COVID-19; a pandemic that continues to
wreak havoc in every global citizen’s live and livelihood.
The reality is that this pandemic is still going to be with us for some time
to come, as some of the more developed economic in the Northern
Hemisphere such as the United States of America and some European
countries, have begun experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19
infections as their winter season intensifies.
COVID-19 continues to cause severe damage to the global economy,
affecting trade, investment, production, international travel and global
supply and demand.
This invisible enemy has ravaged all corners of the world with our
country not being been spared.
Ladies and gentlemen, most countries’ economies have been negatively
impacted and most are expected to record negative growth for 2020,
with few projected to experience mild recovery in 2021.
COVID-19 has caused a slowdown in world trade, disruption in global
supply chains, changing tourism flows and pressuring economic growth.
Worldwide, economies continue to wobble due to the devastating effects
of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and global economic growth is
expected to take a serious knock from the coronavirus (COVID-19.
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While the impact of the pandemic varies from one country to the other, it
will most likely increase poverty and inequality at a global scale.
Ladies and gentlemen, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has
predicted that the Great Lockdown Recession (GLR) brought about by
the pandemic would be the steepest in almost a century.
The IMF has estimated that global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would
shrink by 4.9 per cent this year in contrast to the January 2020 forecast
growth of 3.3 per cent before the worldwide spread of the coronavirus.
This is likely to be the deepest dive since the Great Depression and the
0.1% contraction during the 2009 Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
The South African economy has not achieved the level of growth
required to eliminate poverty, inequality and unemployment for which
most of the people are exposed to.
Investment has been declining over the years and this is likely to worsen
due to the burden to the economy brought about by this devastating
pandemic.
The recent developments related to the outbreak of COVID-19 and its
resultant lockdown on economies across the world have dampened the
prospects even further.
The recent sovereign credit risk downgrades are an indication that that
real capital formation growth is still under pressure.
Distinguished guests, these downgrades imply that it will be more
challenging for the country to raise debt if the need arises.
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If we do manage to raise, the likelihood is that it would come at a higher
borrowing cost.
Ladies and gentlemen, the economy of the North West has equally been
dealt a blow by this pandemic.
Even though data specific to the province has not yet been released for
the first and second quarter of 2020, the expectation is that the province
would have performed in a similar trend as has been seen at a national
level, where we saw the economy registering negative growth of -1.8 per
cent and -5.1 per cent for the first and second quarters of 2020
respectively.
The declaration of the national state of disaster at the end of March 2020
taken to address the health emergency that was posed by COVID-19,
had a severe impact on the already-weak business conditions that were
existing in the province at the time.
The lockdown resulted in the closure of many businesses that were not
regarded as providing essential services during certain levels of the
country’s risk adjusted strategy to respond to the pandemic.
Furthermore, hospitality, tourism, construction, transport, and other
various services were also affected due to travel bans that came with the
lockdown regulations aimed at stemming the spread of the novel
coronavirus.
The impact of COVID-19 on the GDP will be very significant with a
projected recession resulting from severe contraction of the economy in
2020, accompanied by possible job losses.
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Despite growth estimations that GDP will grow at an average annual rate
of 0.40% from 2019 to 2024, a drop in economic growth is likely to be
experienced.
Ladies and gentlemen, air travel came to an almost complete halt,
contributing to the freefall in economic activity in the tourism, transport
and communication industries; that had never been experienced in
history.
There was also less activity by rail and road freight operators due to
restrictions on the production and movement of various goods.
All these had a profoundly negative effect on the economy of the North
West; and it is given to us, all gathered here, to play our respective parts
to resurrect the provincial economy and contribute to the growth of
South Africa’s economy.
The North West Province remains a mineral rich province and there
exists a mining and agricultural potential to attract manufacturing
investment.
The reality is that rural provinces like ours must compete with welldeveloped provinces like Gauteng for attraction of the limited potential
investors.
Given the small size and contribution of the sector to the provincial
economy, the better performance of the agricultural industry could not
assist the overall performance of the economy much.
These are at the back of the knowledge that the impact of the
coronavirus crisis has rippled through every layer of our social fabric as
we knew it.
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While the pandemic continues to turn the world upside down, new
realisations are beginning to dawn on us.
The most important implication of the ground-breaking changes currently
under way, though, is that there’s no going back to normality.
The most important fact that we must grapple with is that the coronavirus
isn’t going away any time soon. We welcome the great news in relation
to a possible vaccine being found to be over 90 per cent effective and
we are keeping hope alive that the vaccine passes all the tests required
to have it approved.
We are mindful that even once the vaccine is approved, professionals
within the health sector have warned that the risk of further spread and
re-emergence will endure.
In our endeavour to respond to the pandemic, the Provincial
Government has launched unprecedented public-health, social and
economic responses to deal with the outbreak of the pandemic and to
enable the Province to detect early community transmission and to limit
uncontrolled and widespread transmission within communities.
Widespread screening, testing, rapid and targeted quarantine to isolate
infected cases and contacts, self-isolation and social/ physicaldistancing measures have been implemented to drive a significant
reduction in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
As a result of our quick health response, we were able to flatten the
curve and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Now with the easing of the COVID-19 risk adjusted strategy restrictions,
we are ready to continue rebuilding our economy in the North West.
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The COVID-19 pandemic will have a long-term impact on the lives in our
province. We dare not forget that people have lost jobs, people have
gone hungry and people have lost loved ones.
We need to apply urgency in our efforts of rebuilding our economy as we
did to the health response in the North West
This engagement offers us in the province an opportunity to discuss the
opportunities and challenges in all identified sectors to develop fighting
strategies or responses to the well document consequence of the
invisible enemy of COVID-19 which is still roaming around the streets.
It is in our hands as government, business, labour, and communities to
find lasting solutions to improve the performance of all the identified
sectors in order to create jobs, grow our economy and eliminate poverty.
It is important for all spheres of government to know who their captains
of the industry are and must actively support the country’s localisation
policies.
This engagement, ladies and gentlemen, comes at a particularly
momentous opportunity when the Province is working tirelessly to
implement various programmes to advance industrial development in the
province such as the Platinum Valley Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
We remain guided by our growth and development vision that states that
by 2030 North-West will be a prosperous province with a healthy, secure
and skilled population, acting as a gateway to Africa and the world.
This vision is underpinned by the full knowledge that to succeed, we
need a strong compact among all social partners to prioritise inclusive
growth, create employment, reduce poverty.
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Ladies and gentlemen, on the 15th of October 2020, President Cyril
Ramaphosa presented, to the joint sitting of Parliament, South Africa’s
Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
This plan seeks to pave a reconstruction and recovery roadmap for the
South African economy that is aimed at stimulating equitable and
inclusive growth. The plan highlights the following priority interventions
areas:
• Aggressive infrastructure investment;
• Employment orientated strategic localization, reindustrialization
and export promotion;
• Energy security;
• Support for tourism recovery and growth;
• Gender equality and economic inclusion of women and youth;
• Green economy interventions;
• Mass public employment interventions;
• Strengthening food security; and
• Macro-economic interventions
Ladies and gentlemen, infrastructure investment, delivery and
maintenance is one other area that has been identified as per the plan to
play a leading role in South Africa’s economic reconstruction and
recovery.
A large scale infrastructure programme has the potential to boost
aggregate demand, assist in reviving the construction industry and
contribute to employment creation.
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I wish to join the President in pledging support for the implementation of
this plan and we further pledge solidarity with our citizens for their
sacrifices, patriotism, and extraordinary resilience as we face grapple
with the path of recovery.
In the spirit and optimistic approach to Economic Reconstruction and
Recovery Plan being implemented, we fully agree with the Honourable
President Ramaphosa that it can never be business as usual.
We need to ensure that the rhetoric of development of good plans with
little to no implementation, becomes a thing of the past.
Understanding the enormity of our challenges and the pressure that this
pandemic has left our masses in, we need to be bold and take decisive
action immediately in implementing this plan.
One of the objectives of this engagement is for us to chart a way forward
with regards to creation of jobs, re-industrialisation of our economy and
a drive to accelerate investments that will respond directly to the
alleviation of the catastrophic impact of COVID-19 on our economy.
This engagement should respond to the call for economic restructuring
of our province and we need to start seeing green shoots coming out
soon through implementation of a response based on the discussions
from here.
We look to this engagement as government to deliver on the promise of
a better life for the citizens of this province through the recovery plans
that will be produced after this, gone are the days of talking with no
action!
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Our people want progress NOT PROCESS!
This engagement must demonstrate the quality and depth of the
leadership from across society that has gathered here.
It must unequivocally demonstrate that we are committed to selfless
service to our people and should clearly demonstrate our commitments
to free our people from the clutches of indignity, poverty and want.
The results of this engagement must prove to our people that when
North West industry leaders unite, when they roll up their sleeves and
work together, they are capable of moving Province forward.
The deliberations that will take place during this engagement must give
a practical expression to the measures identified to bring change as
outlined in the NDP.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is where the work really needs to take place
to bring all social partners together to forge detailed plans to grow the
economy of this province. In a country with a developmental state and a
mixed economy, public private partnerships are indispensable for
national development.
This province has extensive mineral resources. It has fertile soil and
significant agricultural capabilities. And it lies between the industrial
heartland of South Africa and the rest of the African continent.
North West has a unique opportunity to become a strategic export hub
for Southern African road freight. We have not yet fully harnessed the
economic potential of our province and its strategic location as the
gateway to SADC and the region.
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We look to this Engagement to outline concrete action plans to
strengthen the Provincial growth points and we look forward to robust
engagement and forward thinking that could assist us to catapult the
province to a prosperous one that will have a growing economy that will
create jobs for our people and assist us in eradicating inequality and
poverty.
This event is at the heart of building a bridge to the recovery and helping
as many people and businesses as possible get across that bridge.
While we still face some difficult times ahead, North West Province
industry leaders have the power and ability to turn around our economy
and make it a thriving and inclusive one.
We all need to continue working together to support the provincial
economy through what is a very challenging period and to make sure we
are well placed to recover.
We are serious and determined about ensuring sustainable development
and growing the economy of the province, but we also understand that
we as Government cannot do it alone. We as Government are just there
to create the conducive environment and we look up to the private sector
to lead us to the promised land.
We remain convinced that if we are to sustain the growth and
development of SMMEs and Cooperatives, we need to ensure a coordinated and integrated approach across all spheres of government
and that the business sector at large needs to be at the centre of all our
efforts.
I thank you