Johannesburg – If cities stepped up their administrative game, it would support and boost small and medium-sized companies – and ultimately the economies in urban areas.
This arises from the Doing Business 2015 report, based on responses to six indicators by local firms in nine urban areas, according to the medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS).
It’s the easiest to start a business in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Joburg, where property registration is also the fastest. Cape Town is the easiest to deal with in terms of construction permits, while in Mangaung it’s easiest to get a commercial electricity connection and to enforce contracts.
“There is no relationship between the size of the city and the ranking, and no single city performs equally well on all indicators. The results suggest that well-targeted administrative improvements that do not require legislative changes can make a difference to small or medium firms,” the MTBPS says.
“If each metro were to adopt the good practices found across the nine cities for construction permits, getting electricity and enforcing contracts, they would surpass the average performance of high-income members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.”
Urban investment remains a key government area: 68 percent of South Africans are expected to live in the 11 largest urban areas by 2030. The MTBPS says transfers from the national coffers will continue to support urban development and spatial transformation. Tens of billions of rand are being invested over the next three years in housing, commercial and mixed-use developments in the eThekwini, Joburg, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town metros.
However, better co-ordination and improved matching of local government’s own revenue generation for identified projects was needed.
While accessible and affordable public transport has been a key government aim, there have been troubles with both Rea Vaya in Joburg and MiCiti in Cape Town. Both services run at around 40 000 daily passengers, well short of the 70 000 target.
“The full integration of rapid public transport networks has not yet materialised,” according to the MTBPS. It also points out that only four of the targeted cities have such services.