Story by: Motsieng Mooketsi
Matlosana”Klerksdorp”: The Matlosana Trade and Infrastructure Investment Conference is the biggest event to be hosted by the City of Matlosana Municipality this year, the conference sees it’s second edition since 2008. After speculations, planning, strategising, and going around asking for sponsorships to ensure the conference goes ahead as planned after it’s cancellation earlier on this year due to it’s rejection by councillors in the city’s full council meeting which resulted in the conference being postponed, this became an obstacle that didn’t demoralize Mayor Maetu Kgaile and her team to give up on the initiative and dream to see the conference take place in order to bring much needed Trade and Infrastructure investment to the city, to boost it’s economy and put Matlosana as a cornerstone of the province’s trade and infrastructure developmental hub.
The first female Mayor of Matlosana is a woman walking tall, Her determination is undeterred despite having faced constant and unfair critism from some councillors in her constituency, political affiliation and from members of the community. According to the mayor she says she’s facing a lot of challenges and mudslinging from the council instead of support irrespective of her efforts of bringing such a world class event to Matlosana. “The councillors of my political party wanted this conference to fail, we had to ask for sponsorships and what hurts is that we are doing all this for the people of Matlosana, and the community out there doesn’t know what I’m going through in this council, the budgeted money for this event was rejected dispite it having being on the municipality’s budget, it is only now they see that its taking place that they want to be part of it.
The Mayor spoke in an emotional state, one of the people who has played a pivotal role in the conference is Mr Miller Matola of Millvest who co-ordinated the international dignitaries to lend in country and head over to Matlosana. The conference took place for a period of three days at Rio Casino Convention Centre from the 11 to the 13 of October 2017. The speech read by the Mayor set the bar high and paved an avenue of a conference that was exceptionally and successfully executed in such a manner that the both domestic and international dignitaries said they want to come back to the city.
The beautifully articulated speech of Kgaile gave an overview of the achievements of the 2008 conference, the present day economic activities, opportunities and future growth plans for the city with a focus on infrastructure development which is globally a catalyst for the attraction of investors to any city.
Mr Bonsai Shongwe of Millvest the program director ensured the ceremony runs as smoothly as possible, Shongwe made jokes to amuse the crowd and expressed his excitement and honour having to host such a world class event.
The program got underway irrespective of some high profiled leaders in the private and public sector not showing up, the opening remarks of her speech spoke the language of hope, unity, and a new horizon for Matlosana a city that is earmarked to be a Metro Municipality in the near future.
This paradigm shift and this quantum leap of faith set a standard to which will take the city and its people to a new destination that is desired by everyone. The Mayor highlighted the current downgrading of the country’s economy and said therefore the conference is organized to showcase a full portfolio of the Trade and local Infrastructure projects in order to solicit private sector partnerships and mobilize other sources of funding for all the investment opportunities in Matlosana. An Exhibition Marquee was setup for both local and international companies to display their products and services.
The 2008 Technical-Recession invoked the 5th Administration of The North West Province under the leadership of Honourable Premier Supra Obakeng Ramoeletsi Mahumapelo and his cabinet to develop a number of policy frameworks within which municipalities have to navigate their way out of this Technical-Recession with 5 concrete strategies which are:
1.ACT (Agriculture Culture and Tourism)
2.VTSD (Villages Townships and Small Dorpies)
3.RHR (Reconciliation Healing and Renewal)
4.Setsokotsane (Comprehensive & Intergrated Service Delivery Campaign)
5.Saamwerk-Saamtrek (call for unity of purpose above race divisons)
The City of Matlosana is situated on the N12 Treasure Route Corridor which has been identified as one of the key development corridors in the North West Province. These corridors are considered as Spatial Development Initiatives (SDIs) that play an important role in cluster development throughout the province and South Africa in general.
The City is faced with a downturn economy which the Investors conference aims to counter this downward slope of one of the province’s economic hubs through partnerahips with civil society, government, business and labour in conjunction to accelerate the economy of Matlosana thus that of the province.
The country is faced with many financial challenges of upgrading and modernizing the economy and society through all the required infrastructure; This calls for a Public-Private partnership, this is reason that the conference was convened to mobilize off-budget resources to meet all the infrastructure needs of the city.
Critically the creation of a climate to attract private sector investment into the municipality. The North West Province Development Plan provides a set of provincial and municipal incentives- administrative and technical incentives; incentives for business expansion and retention; assistance on research and development; cluster and export development incentives and incentives for township based development.
The conference gave a thorough review of the economy of Matlosana through panel of discussions on the following topics:
- Infrastructure and Property Development
- Cross Border Trade & Investments
- Tourism and Heritage
- Education Research and Development
- Agriculture and Agro-Processing
- Mining Beneficiation and Manufacturing.
The City Manager Mr Roger Nkhumise gave the Socio-Economic overview of Matlosana in his introduction he began by introducing the municipality’s 9 regions which comprise of Klerksdorp, Jouberton, Alabama, Manzilpark, Orkney, Kanana, Stilfontien, Khuma, Haartebeesfontein and Tigane, the 9 areas cover a 3625 Square Kilometer in total with a strategic location on the N12 a mere 164 km south west of Johannesburg it is bordered by Gauteng Province on the east and Northren Cape on the south west. It is further 120 km south of Rustenburg the platinum belt.
The City’s mining decline hasn’t prevented it from being the main function of a regional service centre of agricultural supplies, schools, and medical services. Which stretches beyond the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality into the entire North West Province, Free State and Botswana.
Nkhumise further went on to give an analysis of the demographics of the living standards of the city’spopulation, quoting and making referrals to years and statistics.
The golden city of Matlosana enjoys the bragging rights of being the regional service character of the area, it’s close proximity to Gauteng province and Rustenburg which are both economic power house in South Africa.