CHDA projects aim to boost growth and jobs

The Chris Hani Development Agency’s (CHDA) newly restructured board plans to use its high impact projects to accelerate local economic development which will, in turn, make provision for job creation.

One such project is the Elitheni coal mine project which stretches for about 100 km from Indwe to Molteno, and from Indwe to Ugie.

Last year the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) took a decision to revise the mandate of the CHDA and part of it culminated in the restructuring of the board from seven to 13 members.

The decision by the CHDM was for it to look at investment facilitation in high impact projects which will be a collaborative effort with all six municipalities under its jurisdiction.

CHDA board chairman Andile Mini indicated the revision of the agency’s mandate entailed it generating its own revenue to reduce dependency on CHDM.

We want to depart from the norm of development agencies being fully dependent on a municipality and create a culture of making our own money. This, however, does not mean we will not be funded by the district municipality. The agency as a business of the municipality needs to be able to attract investment, generate revenue, be self-sustainable and pave the way for development in the district.

The revision also means that our high impact projects need to address the high levels of poverty, unemployment and skills development.”

Mini said the reason the agency wanted the coal mine project to be implemented was because it had a lifespan of more than 25 years.

If the project is properly implemented many people will benefit from it. Our role is to ensure investors take the interests of the people of the district into account. We will advocate that we look for skills within he confines of Chris Hani before we check in the province at large. The investors would have to work with local small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to address local economic development.”

Mini said the new board established several committees, including one for development which would implement the high impact projects to their full potential.

We have an audit and risk committee to address issues of risk and governance in the agency. As a public agency we are audited annually to ensure the public purse is used properly and that issues of performance and governance are monitored. We also have the human resource, remuneration and ethics committee set to look at issues of the labour force because government at national level took a decision to create an ethical developmental state. We believe it should not start at a national level because people exist at the local level.

The finance and investment committee which is responsible to create capacity will lobby and advocate for investment in the form of finances. We cannot be confined to the boardroom but must reach out to local businesses for funds. We need to insure the investment is financially viable, so it is able to stimulate local economic development, create employment, and change the demographic patterns in the district.”

Mini said the governance committee which was made up of the chairpersons of the other committees, would be headed by him as the chairman. He said its specific task was to conduct a peer review of other commitees to ensure they delivered on the mandate of the agency.

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