Fin24

W Cape aims to be green economic hub

2012-02-17 11:56

Cape Town - The Western Cape is aiming to become the “green economic hub” of South Africa by encouraging renewable energy, premier Helen Zille said on Friday.

“Our government is finalising the draft Green Procurement White Paper, which will provide general principles and guidelines for integrating environmental criteria into supply chain management,” she said.

One of the objectives is to reduce energy and water use by 10% in provincial offices and other buildings, such as hospitals.

The province is also preparing to build wind and solar energy farms.

Infrastructure plan

Zille also promised a "game-changing" infrastructure plan this year.

"The most powerful economic lever in the hands of a provincial government is the ability to build growth-creating infrastructure," Zille said.

"While I welcome President (Jacob) Zuma's new focus on infrastructure development, it is critical to understand that without private sector investment, neither South Africa nor the Western Cape will be able to build the infrastructure needed for growth."

The city would see three regeneration projects, namely the Founders' Garden/Artscape precinct, the development of a government precinct and the development of the Somerset Hospital precinct.

The Cape Town convention centre would be doubled in capacity.

Zille said the province would launch a road network improvement project to support the Saldanha Industrial Development Zone initiative.

She also announced plans for a project to provide broadband internet access to every citizen, school and government facility in the province.

"It is clear that if we aim to create an international competitive knowledge economy, improve productivity and enjoy access to new markets, we need to invest far more in fast and affordable broadband infrastructure."

The goal was to connect 70% of government facilities and every school by 2014.

Within the next two years, Khayelitsha, Mitchell's Plain and Saldanha Bay would ideally all be connected, Zille said.