War room to oversee KZN job creation
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Durban – KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has announced the establishment of the War Room on job creation, which is to be chaired by him and is set to monitor and oversee the implementation of employment-creation projects in the province.
Zikalala was presenting the KZN State of the Province Address (Sopa) yesterday at the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg as the province, like the eight others in the country, embarked on the road to economic recovery in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the key aspects of Zikalala’s Sopa was intensifying the fight against the virus and reigniting economic recovery and job creation, with the province having taken a battering.
He said the province’s vaccine rollout programme was progressing well with at least 33 399 people having already registered for the first phase in the province.
“Most of our health workers have reported a renewed sense of positivity and feeling protected. KZN received 10 800 vaccines in the first phase and we have vaccinated a total of 7 337 health workers at our two sites in Albert Luthuli and Prince Mshiyeni Hospital,” Zikalala said.
He said that the province’s two Special Economic Zones (SEZ), Dube Tradeport and the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ), had become levers for industrialisation within the province.
“In the south of Durban, Dube TradePort has been working hard on unlocking an Automotive Supplier Park to support the localisation of automotive suppliers to create 3 000 direct jobs. Recently, an initiative was undertaken with Transnet to fast-track the first phase of the project in order to meet the requirements of Toyota within their planned production programme.
“A portion of the old Durban International Airport site is being technically evaluated to be used as a Phase 1 A location for the first wave of approximately R1.5 billion of investment,” Zikalala said.
He said that the construction of the R1.3 billion edible oils plant by Wilmar in the RBIDZ had started and that the project was expected to inject much-needed jobs in the King Cetshwayo District.
“The plant is expected to be complete in the fourth quarter of the year 2022. The RBIDZ has also appointed the contractor for Phase 1 of the R4.5 billion titanium dioxide plant. This phase will be operational in the 4th quarter of 2021 and Phase 2 (of the 40 000 tons a year plant) construction will commence in January 2022,” Zikalala said.
He said that his administration had also secured industrial land in Ezakheni, in Ladysmith, to develop a fully-fledged clothing and textile SEZ which will be operated by the Dube TradePort, while the provincial government had successfully attracted investments worth R780 million from companies interested to locate within the SEZ.
Zikalala said that the provincial government was also looking at ways of harnessing its exporting capacity, with the province set to launch the KZN Africa Export Strategy by May 2021.
“In the meantime, through Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) is working to support export initiatives which will create at least 2 240 jobs. The Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal Target Africa and East initiative will create 400 jobs and R100m worth of exports.
“The Edtea KZN Exporter Competitiveness Programme will sustain 1 500 jobs and R30m worth of exports. The Arts and Crafts Market Access Programme will create 70 jobs and R2m worth of exports and the Africa Fashion Exchange will create 70 jobs and R2m worth of exports,” Zikalala said.