Gauteng premier David Makhura has identified the cannabis industry as one of the key sectors that the provincial government will invest in to grow its economy.
Presenting his state of the province address at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Ga-Rankuwa, Tshwane, Makhura said the Gauteng government identified 10 economic sectors which could turn around the economy.
These sectors are transport and logistics, ICT, media and digital services, tourism and hospitality, agri-food and agri-business, construction and infrastructure sector, automotive, aero space and defense sector, financial services, cultural and creative industries, and the cannabis industry.
“We will focus on the industrialisation and processing of cannabis industry…especially for use and medicinal purpose,” Makhura said.
The Constitutional Court legalised cannabis in 2018, ruling that the personal use of cannabis was not a criminal offence. This opened a new era of business opportunity, in particular the use of cannabis for medicinal purpose.
“We will improve the ease of doing business in each sector, develop the skilled workforce for each industry and build enabling infrastructure, including special economic zones and industrial parks,” he noted.
Makhura presented a 10-year plan which will be implemented by provincial departments in partnership with the national government.
He announced that by 2025, Gauteng would have three fully operating special economic zones in Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Sedibeng. A special agro-processing zone will be established on the West Rand.
In addition, provincial government will revitilise 15 industrial parks, 12 agri-parks and five agro-processing facilities across all the regions of the province. Makhura said in the next five years, the provincial government would spend R60bn on building and maintenance of infrastructure, which will contribute to the creation of additional 100 000 jobs.
“We will upscale our welfare-to-work programme to enable 100 000 unemployed young women who currently depend on state grants, to graduate to self-employment in the township economy,” Makhura said. -Sowetanlive