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President Zuma has again criticised Durban’s sleeping habits, saying they needed to change for this important economic hub to realise its full potential.
“Durban is one of the most important tourists cities (with) warm and wonderful people, but at 11pm (businesses) close shop and go to sleep. In places where tourism has succeeded they don’t close,” Zuma said yesterday.
The president said Durban businesses needed to open their doors around the clock for the city’s economy to grow.
“No economy can grow if you love sleeping too much. That city ought to be a city that if not all of it, half of it opens 24 hours.”
He has raised this before – at Durban Chamber of Commerce dinners in 2008 and 2009.
Zuma said entrepreneurs in Durban and Richards Bay – the cities with two of the largest ports on the continent – were sitting on many unexplored business opportunities. One of these, he said, would be a ferry between the two.
“Between these two cities (you ought) to have boats that take workers to work in the morning and back in the afternoon, it’s just close by. You (business people) don’t see it, you are busy fighting over tenders… There is no boat that takes people from Richards Bay to Durban. Nothing! You don’t see it as a possibility,” he said
“Let us try to be innovative in our thinking and do more business. I’ve never seen a country like South Africa where a greater part of its border is the sea but you guys are not utilising the sea.”
He said a ferry between Cape Town and Durban would be beneficial to other tourist destinations such as East London, Port Elizabeth, Knysna and George.
Zuma was speaking in Richards Bay at the launch of the Department of Labour’s Jobs Fair.
He said youth unemployment was a problem, but stressed that finding a solution to the crisis was not the responsibility of government alone.
“Unemployed young people tend to be less skilled and inexperienced. Almost 86 percent do not have formal further or tertiary education, while two-thirds have never worked.”
He said the government was doing all it can to promote training opportunities for workers and the youth.
Zuma also announced the sites where the country’s two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape would be built.
“The seat and main campus for the University in Mpumalanga will be at the Lowveld Agricultural College, a site overlooking the city of Nelspruit and close to the new provincial parliament. In the Northern Cape it is our intention to establish the seat and main campus in the inner city of Kimberley.”