Durban — The mayor of eThekwini Municipality, councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said the city is on an economic recovery, despite the recent catastrophic events such as the 2017 to 2019 torrential rains, to the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, the July 2021 civil unrest and the April floods that hit the province, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.
Kaunda presented this “new bill of health” of the City of eThekwini during his State of the City Address he delivered on Wednesday, held at the iconic Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
“All of these devastating disasters resulted in the destruction of our infrastructure, loss of life and livelihoods.
“We are happy that as a result of our interventions, we are beginning to see our economy bouncing back and returning to pre-Covid-19 growth levels again. This can be attributed to the Economic Recovery Plan which we continue to use as a blueprint to respond to disasters.
“Businesses that were forced to halt operations by the hard Covid lockdowns have reopened and have retained many jobs. In addition, during this period, we were able to attract foreign direct investment of close to R4 billion.
“While we were still dealing with the Covid-19 recovery, the city faced an unprecedented civil unrest which claimed many lives and destroyed infrastructure and businesses.
“We are happy to report that working together with business, we were able to expedite the approval of their rebuilding plans, and as government we provided relief to those who were unable to operate by using Section 78 of the Municipal Property Act or Section 14 of the Rates Policy.
“Through these interventions, we have seen many businesses that were destroyed opening their doors to customers. Early this month, we were pleased to reopen the Bridge City Mall in the north of Durban. The reopening of this mall has rejuvenated the economic activity in the Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu nodes. It has also brought back renewed hope to around 1500 people who lost their jobs during the unrest”.
Kaunda listed the following businesses as others that have been resuscitated through the city’s economic recovery:
- Dube Village Mall;
- Mamdikazi business precinct near Mariannhill;
- Mega City in Umlazi;
- Businesses in Springfield including Makro and the Value Centre;
- Major retail businesses in the inner city and secondary CBDs such as Pinetown and Isipingo.
Kaunda appealed to the private sector to continue investing in eThekwini, adding that they have noted that as these businesses rise from the ashes, there is considerable improvement in the design of these structures which is transforming the architecture of the city.
He further said as government, they will continue to engage and support businesses at those economic zones who have not been able to get back on their feet.
“In the aftermath of the floods, our teams have worked tirelessly to repair damaged infrastructure and to relocate flood victims to family-friendly accommodation”.
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