Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF)

Western Cape Government Economic War Room

At its annual conference held in May 2018, the WCPDF initially proposed the idea of an economic war room at government level to deal with the South African economic crisis in general and, in particular, to begin to alleviate the constraints and red tape that were stifling growth and job creation in the property development and construction industries. This was a theme expanded upon extensively in the WCPDF’s annual conference held in 2019 under the theme The Perfect Storm: Investment and jobs or bureaucracy and stagnation.

In November 2018, a meeting between the WCPDF chair, Deon van Zyl, and the then Western Cape Government (WCG) Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, planted the seeds firmly in the ground, with the Minister committing to the setting up of such a war room. With the Minister becoming the WCG Premier in 2019, work on the war room escalated culminating in a launch in September 2019, during the Premier’s first 100 days in office, and incorporating five economic areas deemed to be those most crucial to kickstarting the provincial economy and creating much-needed jobs.

The property and construction sector in the Western Cape was incoporated under the category of the “Capital investment, property development and construction sector” and was highlighted as a primary enabler that would allow the WCG to achieve its growth vision for the province. At the launch of this sector’s incorporation (see report here), the Premier also acknowledged that the crisis currently faced by this sector needed to be urgently addressed.

Other sectors incorporated into the war room include commuter mobility, informal light manufacturing, IT and business process outsourcing, and the creation of manufacturing jobs in Atlantis.

To date, in terms of the property development and construction sectors, a pilot programme also launched in September has seen a WCG-appointed task team interview various private sector members and organisations to identify the key issues to be tackled. A report outlining progress made up to November 2019, submitted to the WCPDF by Premier Alan Winde, can be found here.

The WCPDF’s monthly newsletter contains regular updates on this project, and it is anticipated that the outcomes of the WCG task team and the initiatives to be taken to address the crisis faced by the property development and construction sectors will form an important part of the WCPDF’s 2020 conference, 2020 Vision for Growth: towards collaboration, implementation & accountability