Sihle Zikalala
DURBAN - A new R18-billion expansion project has been planned for the Dube Trade Port to further boost the already booming economy and create jobs in the north of the city.

Speaking at the launch of the project on Wednesday, Sihle Zikalala, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, said the world-class multibillion-rand second phase of the Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone came at a time when the province was enjoying a wave of investments that was changing the economic landscape.

“We recently announced that as KZN, we have amassed business prospects worth more than R200bn which will see several cranes in the province’s sky and will unleash considerable job opportunities,” he said.

Zikalala said his department was proud that since the opening of the Dube Trade Port in 2010, thousands of jobs had been created. This, he said, had vastly contributed to the provincial fiscus.

Zikalala said the first phase had already created more than 12 000 jobs.

As part of the first phase, President Cyril Ramaphosa and national ministers indicated that the Dube Trade Port would officially unveil a new cellphone manufacturing plant.

Zikalala said the technology conglomerate, the Mara Group, had signed a lease agreement and was proceeding with plans to invest R1.5bn into Africa’s first fully fledged smartphone factory.

He said the second-phase expanxion was expected to generate R18bn within the Special Economic Zone over the next five years.

“This heralds new growth and prosperity in KZN. Phase two offers a number of opportunities in sectors like electronics, aeronautical services such as aircraft maintenance, aircraft repair, overhaul, fixed-base operations and executive aerospace,” he said.

Zikalala said the Durban Aerotropolis was poised to enhance both urban and national competitiveness through improved multi-modal transport access and planned aviation-linked commercial development.

Dube Trade Port chief executive, Hamish Erskine said scores of companies had shown interest in occupying sites in phase two.

“We are confident that we will be in a position to make some major announcements soon,” he said.