DURBAN - DESPITE a number of challenges, the KwaZulu-Natal government has secured investments totalling R5.3 billion with 8 554 jobs set to be created in the process, Economic Development and Tourism MEC Ravi Pillay told the sitting of the KZN Legislature yesterday.
He was presenting the department’s R3.41bn budget, in which he outlined initiatives aimed at reviving the province’s economy which was battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, last July’s riots and the recent floods.
“The pandemic hit us hard. Household incomes fell rapidly. Many small businesses could not survive the shutdown, while most of the survivors face deep liquidity constraints. The July social unrest deepened the crisis. Unemployment remains the leading challenge that necessitates immediate policy priority,” said Pillay.
He told the sitting that the multibillion rand investments were the end result of a concerted effort to sell KZN as an attractive destination to businesses.
“The total rand value of investments to date into the province of KwaZulu-Natal, mostly facilitated by Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal in this financial year, amounts to R5.3bn with 8 554 jobs to be created,” said Pillay.
The investments that have been signed off include:
- Tetra Pak investment of R500 million adding 120 jobs to the already existing 300 jobs.
- Webhelp Call Centre’s investment of R500m which will initially create 350 jobs and grow to over 2 000 jobs in the next two years.
- Blythedale Coastal Resort’s R800m investment creating over 2 000 jobs.
- Capita BPO investment of R120m creating 500 jobs.
- Construction of the R1.1bn Wilmar Factory, envisaged to create 200 jobs.
- Toyota South Africa’s R2.6bn investments for the Toyota Corolla Cross.
Pillay expressed confidence in future investments for the province, saying very strong relationships have been established with international stakeholders which included embassies, trade offices, and bilateral chambers.
The MEC concedcd that the recent floods dealt a blow to the province which was recovering from the July riots. He pointed out that restoring road access to the port of Durban, in particular Bayhead Road, rail infrastructure and full operational efficiency was one of the priorities for the government.
He also singled out the repair work on the N2, R102 and secondary roads, and the provision of shelter for workers who have been displaced.
The MEC said the government would continue to address challenges such as the disruption of business operations and sites by vigilante business forums.