Speech by the Deputy Minister of Trade And Industry, Ms Nomalungelo Gina at the Kwazulu-Natal Trade and Investment Conference at the Durban Aerotropolis

MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentleman,

Good Morning.

It is my privilege to welcome and thank you for attending this KwaZulu-Natal Investment Conference today, under the theme – DURBAN AEROTROPOLIS. My message today is very simple; KwaZulu-Natal is ready and geared for growth and is open for business.

Being the second largest economy in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal presents a vast array of opportunities for your investments with an ideal location. The province boasts two of Africa’s busiest ports located in Durban and Richards Bay with world-class road and rail infrastructure. The province is also a host to a vehicle manufacturer, Toyota, that assemblies here in Durban.

South Africa is now a signatory to the African Continental Tree Trade Area (AfCFTA); this new trade dispensation in the continent opens up new trade avenues for the country but for KZN, through Durban Aerotropolis initiative, to aim high through optimize continental trade. KwaZulu-Natal, on her own, can be a true gate away of the country to the trade in the continent taking advantage of Durban largest and the Richards Bay deepest harbour for shipping goods across the continent; and this initiative of Durban Aerotropolis with its strength on fast movement of goods through aviation.

The province also has two designated Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at the Dube Trade Port, which incorporates the King Shaka International Airport and the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone – these are the provinces’ main flagship projects to attract wide scale investments. The Special Economic Zones (SEZ) offer an internationally competitive value proposition for the country with unique offerings for investors and some of which include:

  • Ready infrastructure for business development,
  • Reduced costs for key inputs such as land, water and electricity,
  • Tax relief, which includes a reduced corporate tax rate.

We are also revitalizing the infrastructure of the old government-owned Industrial Parks that were established in the townships and rural areas by the apartheid government for its nefarious reasons. Several Industrial Parks in this province are already benefiting from this programme, and are at different stages of development. For instance, Isithebe Industrial Park has already benefited from Phase 1 of the Revitalization Programme to the tune of R49 million.

The technologies underpinning the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be the driving force for the development of the Durban Aerotropolis and the surrounding areas. As a result, we have decided to turn part of Isithebe Industrial Park into a Digital Hub where our youth and SMMEs could enhanced their skills and be part of the Digital Transformation process that is changing the way we do things.

At the inaugural Presidential Investment Conference held last year, the President announced R300 billion of investments of which over R250 billion worth of projects have entered implementation phase. I am proud to announce that the province of KZN has contributed significantly to this. Dube Trade Port SEZ has 39 operational investors with a value of R1.3 billion, creating 2 821 direct jobs. The SEZ has also secured new investors with a value of R3.2 billion.

The zone has further grown its investment pipeline to 34 investors, with an estimated value of R8 billion.  The zone and the province’s success can be attributed to a supportive business environment.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the province of KZN has made in-roads to improving its investment environment, and has been working diligently towards scaling up its investments in various sectors such as the manufacturing; petrochemicals; clothing and textiles; pulp and paper products; finance and real estate; wholesale and retail trade; hotels; transport and communications as well as agriculture and forestry.

All efforts are being made to re-industrialize the economy to create much needed employment, curb the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and to make a significant contribution to South Africa’s socio-economic transformation. Domestic and foreign Investment if well targeted and nurtured can drive economic growth and in turn contribute to much needed job creation and economic inclusion for all.

At a national level, government is currently working on a set of priority reforms to improve the ease of doing business by consolidating and streamlining regulatory processes, automating permit and other applications, and reducing the cost of compliance.

As part of improving our investment service to investors, we have InvestSA, which focuses on investment promotion and facilitation. InvestSA has been intensifying its facilitation and aftercare service to meet international best practices and is rolling out ‘one stop shops’ services across the country, which brings together key government departments in a single location to provide specialist advisory services, fast track investment projects and ease regulatory requirements for investors.  The “KwaZulu Natal One Stop Shop” is located within Trade and Investment KwaZulu Natal (TIKZN) and at the Dube Trade Port.

As the dti we are exhilarated that a 50 year Durban Aerotropolis Master Plan is being unveiled. We have no doubt that this Plan will set in motion ground breaking initiatives with regard to the development of Durban Aerotropolis, turning the entire surface area around King Shaka International Airport into a smart city with diversified economic activities that will prop up KZN economy.

The experiences of  Aerotropolis around the world especially in US and Europe, the economic spin-offs arising from building of these cities around the  big airports, demonstrates the urgency to us as a country to factor this in the development of  our modern economy. These economic enclaves surrounding huge airports precincts has in many ways unlocked faster goods exports through air transport, increased global connectivity, multi-modal transportation systems and any aviation related businesses. Therefore, we look forward to that exciting journey.

As the dti, we see this as not just a project for Durban and its future economic boom but for the entire province which will benefit through the economic spin-offs that will arise as a result of the hive of business activities in this Dube Trade Port precinct.

In closing, I would like to thank you for your time and would like to take this opportunity to wish you well in the rest of your deliberations and discussions. My colleagues from the dti are here to assist you with any questions or information you may require and I look forward to engaging with you further.

Thank You!

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