Indaba gets to grips with Eastern Cape

A BETTER economy remained in the hands of Eastern Cape residents SINCE their province was rich with land and manufacturing activity, speakers at the Eastern Cape Economic Outlook Symposium 2010 said yesterday.

The event marked the launch of a report commissioned by Eastern Cape's department of economic development and environmental affairs - as well as the treasury.

In his video-recorded message to the delegates, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said Eastern Cape had also been affected by the global recession - as many job losses were recorded in its motor manufacturing plants.

Patel said it would be to the advantage of those companies severely hit by the crisis to approach the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for assistance.

In the last quarter of 2009, the IDC announced a R6billion fund to assist companies in distress.

He also urged manufacturers to participate in the anti-global warming initiatives. "We all have to take part in the development of the green economy and manufacturers should work to reduce carbon emissions by producing more hybrid and electric cars.

Eastern Cape MEC Mcebisi Jonas said one of the key aspects that could be drawn from the report was that "while we cannot completely separate the Eastern Cape economy from the effects in the global economy, we can, by using our natural competitive advantages, ensure that we are better positioned to mitigate these affects."

Limpopo LED Resource Centre board member Chris Gilmore said attention should be geared to reinforcing the public service.

"We need a skilled civil service of young people who want to work hard and nor intent on getting in and out of departments," Gilmore said.