Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina said on Wednesday that he was working hard to ensure that the metro remains an investment-friendly city.
Masina, speaking during his state of the city address, said the show of confidence by rating agencies like Moody’s comes as an added advantage as it will make it easier for the metro to borrow money to build much-needed infrastructure projects.
Earlier this year, Moody’s found that the credit profile of the City reflected its stable financial performance, supported by a large and diverse economic base and significant, predictable revenue from service charges and property taxes.
The city also received two unqualified audit outcomes from the Auditor General who said the city’s financial statements were fairly and appropriately presented, without any exceptions, and in compliance with accounting standards.
“This rating [by Moody’s] is not only a vote of confidence in the finances and governance of the city, but it also makes it easier for the city to raise funds for CAPEX projects,” said Masina.
The city is currently planning to invest in major infrastructure projects in the areas of energy, rail, water and roads.
It aims to partner with local and international chambers of commerce and industry associations to implement these massive projects.
Some of the projects include a partnership with ACSA to build an International Convention Centre within the Western Airport Precinct of the OR Tambo Airport.
Masina also announced that Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), in a joint venture with Gibela Rail Transport Consortium Ltd, has embarked on a refurbishment and replacement campaign in order to transform and modernize all of its current rolling stock.
“Gibela has been awarded the contract by PRASA to build and deliver 600 trains to South Africa’s metro rail network between 2015 and 2025. Prasa-Gibela has established a rail manufacturing plant [106 ha in extend] for the manufacturing of the new rolling stock of approximately 3,500 train carriages,” said Masina.
He also announced the R300-billion investment pipeline for Ekurhuleni.
“We have resolved to consolidate our approach towards this investor sector of the economy by consolidating offerings from all spheres of government into a comprehensive investment strategy,” said Masina.
“Last year we announced our intention to explore an incentive strategy to attract investment. This has been an ongoing process. Among the instruments to unlock this investment pipeline, we are looking at the potential of using rebates in rates and taxes as part of our incentive strategy to boost employment opportunities.”