Major KZN economic hubs rake in billions

KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Supplied

KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 22, 2023


Durban — More than R25 billion flows into KwaZulu-Natal’s Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) and the Dube Trade Port, which have brought about the province’s economic stability.

This was revealed by the KZN leader of Government Business and Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Siboniso Duma during his interaction with delegates and exhibitors in the Special Economic Zone section of the 11th Transport Evolution Africa Forum and Expo, attended by delegates from Africa and different parts of the globe, at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Thursday.

Duma said they had singled out the economic zones as central in aiding the recovery from the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said the RBIDZ and the Dube Trade Port had attracted a combined investment of more than R25bn over the past five years. These companies were contributing millions of rands towards municipal rates. This ensured service delivery at a local level.

“Notable investments include Wilma Palm Oil with an investment of R1.3bn and Nyanza Light, a chemical company investing R4.3bn. Wilmar Processing plant will soon be producing cooking oil, mayonnaise and margarine for domestic consumption and export,” Duma said.

He stated that in the next few weeks, the KZN government would open new premises for Futurelife, a food production company that was 100% owned by Pepsico, which is ranked among the 500 top companies in the world.

Duma said that about R75 million had been invested by Futurelife. He said it procures 88% of its raw materials locally within South Africa. These include maize, soya, sugar, rice and bran.

He also revealed that all product packaging was procured locally. There was about 30% export potential to various countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America.

“As a government, we are channelling our resources towards building local manufacturing capacity in key sectors. We want the people of this province to be skilled and afforded the support that will enable them to produce local products for domestic and export markets,” he added.

KZN ANC spokesperson Mafika Mndebele has said with more than R100m having been set aside by the ANC provincial government to drive youth entrepreneurship, the ANC had demonstrated a clear commitment to ensuring that young people took charge of different economic sectors.

“In particular, there are funding instruments such as Operation Vula, KZN Growth Fund through Black Industrialists – Ithala Bank and many more offered by the national government to support our entrepreneurs from all corners of this province. We want these funding instruments to be available to all – not to a selected few,” said Mndebele.

He said that they wanted products across all sectors of the economy by the people in deep rural areas and in the townships to be exported to countries in the BRICS bloc.

University of KwaZulu-Natal economics lecturer Dr Sanele Gumede said that the two economic zones had become the backbone of the KZN province’s economic activity and diversity.

Gumede said the KZN government still needed to do a lot of marketing of these zones to attract more investment opportunities into the province, which would increase the province’s economy, thus improving job opportunities for its citizens.

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