Durban — There is hope at Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone that the projects under way are going to fuel the country’s economy.
This was announced by chief executive officer Thabane Zulu in a sit-down exclusive interview with the Daily News.
Zulu said: “One would ask if how much are the IDZs generating from international investors for their respective provinces but it’s not just about attracting in particular foreign investment and it just ends there. Our Richards Bay IDZ is strategically located because it’s got its own competitive economic advantages.”
He said as they have different strategic sectors in different environments, so is the RBIDZ because it makes it very easy for international investors to locate themselves within their zone.
“This is mainly because of our deep sea port which is located in a perfect spot geographically and also the national and international roads that connect the zone to the neighbouring countries such as Mozambique. This assists us in terms of looking at other different projects of energy like gas development which is one of our key sectors,” added Zulu.
He said as the investors come to our shores, they assist with job creation as well.
Currently, there is an initiative, the Wilmar processing project, which created 1 200 jobs in its construction phase and looked at 800 permanent jobs when it’s finished.
“Eight hundred families will be able to sustain themselves with that basic income. But also we know that the most important sector in job creation is small businesses. Small businesses play a meaningful role in our economic space and is sustaining livelihood in our country,” he said.
He said the RBIDZ is dedicated at giving much-needed support to the business development of the SMMEs so that they can participate with existing investors within their zone.
“We also create business development opportunities in the very mainstream of our economy whereby we have big shareholders who then participate in one way or another in those big projects by accessing shareholding, assisted by various financial institutions in the development arena,” concludes Zulu.
In South Africa there are seven Special Economic Zones in different provinces, namely: Coega IDZ (Eastern Cape), Richards Bay IDZ (KwaZulu-Natal), East London IDZ (Eastern Cape), Saldanha Bay IDZ (Western Cape), Dube TradePort (KwaZulu-Natal), Maluti-a-Phofung SEZ (Free State) and OR Tambo IDZ (Gauteng).
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