Chairperson of the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations, Eddie Makue, has called on government to make the Eastern Cape the next area of growth for South Africa’s economy.

Makue said the province’s booming car manufacturing sector, Coega development on the Port of Ngqurha, and the long coastline all ought to be injected with the necessary resources and support from the national government in order to maximise economic benefits.

“The EC economy, and all the opportunities it presents, is critical to growing the country’s gross domestic product but also contributing in the country’s job creation objectives and improvement of skills. The province’s biggest metro – Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) – is the next area of growth without a doubt,” he said.

The Committee will together with the Committee on Economic Development conduct a week-long oversight visit to monitor whether NMBM’s economic growth opportunities are adequately exploited.

The committees will visit various projects including Coega, VW Manufacturing plant in Uitenhage, and the ASPEN factory plant.

“If one looks at the objectives of Operation Phakisa – programme meant to exploit potential sea resources to the benefit of South Africans – and the National Development Plan (NDP,) it is clear that the country ought to be looking to the EC,” Makue said.

He said although the committees acknowledged that work is being done in the EC, the question is how do all spheres of government take it to the next level with coordinated plans.