eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda wants the precinct around the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) to emphasise its status as a “world-class” business venue.
Kaunda recently reiterated calls for a taxi rank, which is operating close to the site, to be relocated and added that non-tourism-related businesses operating in the vicinity should also be moved.
The ICC is considered one of the premier conference venues in the country.
“The officials should move with speed in relocating the taxi rank, and there are all the other businesses that are located around the ICC precinct, the workshops (car repair businesses) should also be relocated so that the area around the ICC speaks to the venue that is of an international standard,” said Kaunda.
The ICC was named Africa’s Leading Meeting and Conference Centre and Africa’s Leading Festival and Events Destination at the 2023 World Travel Awards held in Dubai last month.
Speaking on the award, Kaunda said: “This is great news for the City, and we want to convey our gratitude to the board of the Durban ICC, senior management and staff for continuing to fly our flag high by providing excellent service to clients. This is the 18th occasion that the Durban ICC has received this award which speaks volumes about the commitment and dedication of our staff at the Durban ICC.
“The Durban ICC also continues to uphold principles of good governance and effective financial management as it has achieved eight clean audit opinions from the Auditor-General,” he said.
DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said consultation was key to making the relocations a success.
“It is true that the municipality should do everything it can to enhance tourism and guarantee the safety of tourists, however, it is important that all stakeholders, including the taxi industry and the businesses around the area, are consulted.”
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the City should plan properly.
“There is the uMlazi taxi rank and there are also buses, so if you are going to relocate, both services must be relocated. If you are going to relocate people, there needs to be proper consultation. The City will need to have a new place these taxi operators will be relocated to.”
He added that there should not be a repeat of what happened in uMhlanga, where there was a dispute over there being no taxi rank.
eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson, Gugu Sisilana, said: “The relocation process is still at the planning phase, and therefore it would be premature to comment on it at this stage.”