Grant Adlam
Grant Adlam



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KZN has a Plan - Grant Adlam

2013-08-01

KwaZulu-Natal offers both the investor and the entrepreneur the ideal environment in which to do business. In addition to the inestimable quality of life, the Province is increasingly becoming a powerhouse in the 21st century, with a clear Development Plan to stimulate economic growth, support investment and grow access to markets. And, most critically, create an environment for sustainable economic development.

KwaZulu-Natal contributes significantly to the progress of the whole of South Africa, and the provincial economy is the largest contributor to the national GDP after Gauteng. As the Provincial Premier Dr Zweli Mhkize has pointed out, "For South Africa to work, KwaZulu-Natal must work". This is supported by the Provincial Growth and Development Strategy and Plan and the focus is on the implementation of this plan, to achieve the growth necessary to meet the national objectives.

Building the Economy in a Hesitant Global Economy

The USA's slow recovery from the 2012 recession, the challenges facing the single currency EuroZone, and a triple dip recessionanticipated for the United Kingdom certainly impact on South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal, but the region remains resilient.

The Provincial Government has set an annual growth target of 4%, and a plan to create 2.1 million jobs by 2030 objectives are fully justified by the 2012 Economic Barometer by Mike Schüssler of economists.co.za, which reports a growth index of 116 for KwaZulu-Natal since September 2009.

While certain sectors have continued to shed jobs, with unemployment remaining unacceptably high at 22.5%, the Provincial Government has allocated significant funds to capital projects and both new and on-going projects that will stimulate economic growth in the Province.

KwaZulu-Natal: Gateway to Africa

Positioned on the eastern coast of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal offers a gateway into Africa, with a worldclass infrastructure that includes a modern and sophisticated transport system, still relatively low-cost electricity and leading-edge telecommunications.

The manufacturing industry is of vital importance to KwaZulu-Natal. The Province is second only to Gauteng in this industry and approximately one third of South Africa's manufactured exports are produced in here. The other key industries are finance and business services, wholesale and retail and tourism.

The largest industries in KwaZulu-Natal's manufacturing sector are the automobile, wood, pulp and paper, chemicals and petrochemicals, food and beverages. Aluminum and titanium, mostly located in Richard's Bay, dominate KwaZulu-Natal's contribution in the South African metals industry.

With sophisticated commercial and banking systems (with regulations that have been emulated in major international economies since the financial crisis of 2008) and professional services across the spectrum, KwaZulu-Natal offers the investor and business in general significant opportunities.

The two ports of Durban and Richards Bay provide gateways to the world and effectively position the region to increase its share of the global market. These sophisticated ports are southern Africa's busiest in terms of freight bulk and value, and the expansion of the Durban Port will increase capacity and potential further still.

The new Durban-Free State-Gauteng Logistics and Industrial Corridor and the Dugout Port will increase capacity, lower port tariffs, and provide more rapid access to markets and greater capacity for both export and import to markets within South Africa and into Africa.

KwaZulu-Natal also offers a sophisticated road system, and five airports, including King Shaka International Airport in Durban and four regional airports located in Pietermaritzburg, Margate, Ulundi and Mkuze, giving access throughout the Province.

King Shaka International Airport also connects to United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana and is ready to spread its network to the whole SADC region. The development of the Dube TradePort Aerotropolis, near King Shaka International Airport, will also improve freight logistics and access to support services for investors.

Upgrades to the KwaZulu-Natal rail freight links to Limpopo, Swaziland to Richards Bay have already begun and passenger rail has also seen dramatic enhancement, with an investment of R189 million in the refurbishment of the existing fleet and additional new coaches in 2013 alone, and an upgrade to the outdated signal system which will increase capacity and offer faster, safer rail travel.

These infrastructural projects all serve to improve connectivity to markets as well as transporting both passengers and freight, further developing the business environment conducive to growth.

Diverse Resources

KwaZulu-Natal's sub-tropical climate, excellent annual rainfall and some of the most fertile land in the country makes the province the national leader in several agricultural products. The Midlands area between Pietermaritzburg and the Drakensberg has a concentration of vegetable, dairy and stock-farms; the province's coastal belt yields sugar cane, wood, oranges, bananas, mangoes and other tropical fruit. And forestry is a major enterprise for companies including Mondi, Merensky, NCT Forestry Co-operative Limited and Sappi in the areas around Vryheid, Eshowe, Richmond, Harding and Ngome.

Agriculture is a labour-intensive sector, which is especially relevant in a provincial context of high unemployment. The wellestablished sugar industry in KwaZulu- Natal supports close to one-million people.

Minerals and Mining are key industries in the Richards Bay and Northern KwaZulu-Natal areas, with Richards Bay Coal Terminal being the biggest coal export terminal in the world.

Automotive Sector

Major international automotive companies, Toyota and Bell Equipment, have their manufacturing plants in KwaZulu-Natal, employing well over 20 000 employees within the Province and contributing significantly to the economic growth. An Automotive Supplier Project Steering Committee comprising the City and the KwaZulu-Natal Government representation, IDC, business, Ithala and Toyota- South Africa, has been established and land for future expansion has been identified in the South Durban Basin for acquisition.

Tourism

Tourism is a key priority for provincial government. KwaZulu-Natal is currently the third most popular destination for international tourists, and contributes 10% to the GDP of the Province. The province has a rich natural heritage, with dramatic scenery, game, wildlife and tourism facilities, and this sector presents great opportunities for investors across the tourism spectrum and will be a major contributor to economic growth and job creation.

Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises and Co-Operatives

The role of small entrepreneurs in building our economy and in the provision of job opportunities has been well established.  However, policies have to been developed to create a supportive environment for small business. Cabinet has approved the formation of the Small Business Development Agency to offer holistic financial and non-financial supportive services to the small business and co-operative sector, once again offering opportunities.

Economic Distribution

The eThekwini Metro is the economic powerhouse of KwaZulu-Natal, and is the second largest contributor to GDP after Johannesburg. eThekwini is also a significant administrative centre, providing key public services within the metropolitan area as well as across the Province. The municipality extends to Pietermaritzburg, in the Umgungundlovu District Municipality, which is the legislative capital of KwaZulu-Natal. Pietermaritzburg is home to Hulamin, the JSE- listed manufacturer of rolled and extruded extruded aluminium products for the local and export market as well as major family-owned business, including Belgotex, which owns the largest carpet and flooring manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, and Willowton Oil, who manufacture branded oils, margarines and spreads and personal and laundry soaps.

Ideally positioned along the N3 national highway corridor to Gauteng, the city is a regional centre for sports events, outdoor festivals, shows, education, and the arts such as the Royal Show, the Hilton Arts Festival, Art in the Park and Cars in the Park.

Ballito, in the iLembe District Municipality, is the fastest growing node in the country. Rapid growth followed the establishment of the nearby King Shaka International Airport and significant investment in property development, both commercial and residential, had spawned generated growth and economic development in this area. In uThungulu, Richards Bay's port, coal terminal, aluminium smelters and mining houses drive the local economy. In addition the Richards Bay Industrial Zone assists in attracting investment to the region.

In Amajuba, the town of Newcastle is the third largest urban centre in KwaZulu-Natal. Located in the north-west of the Province, Newcastle's major activities are coal mining, steel processing and manufacturing The KwaZulu-Natal Clothing and Textile Cluster has established a Sector Business Support Centre in Newcastle, aimed at regenerating the area's clothing and textile industry.

The economies of the municipalities along the South Coast are focused on agriculture, tourism and retail. The scenic coastal surroundings and the Margate airport in the Ugu District Municipality makes it an ideal spot for conferencing, and the steam train in the Sisonke District Municipality is another tourist attraction.

Zululand is a popular destination for wildlife and birding tours and rich in Anglo-Boer War and Zulu history. Ulundi, in the north-east of the province, is the administrative capital of the province. Approximately half the Municipal area consists of commercial farms and the area supports a substantial agricultural community. It is also offers significant tourism growth opportunities, with rich Zulu cultural sites, including the KwaZulu Cultural Museum, the partially reconstructed royal homestead of King Cetshwayo, the Ophathe Heritage Park and King Dingane's Royal Palace.

A Better Life for all People in KwaZulu-Natal

The development of job opportunities is vital for economic growth, and almost 90 000 full-time employment opportunities and 325 000 work opportunities have already been created in KwaZulu-Natal, many of these through infrastructure projects in health and education. In addition, more than 100 000 homes have been provided since 2009, in both urban and rural areas, by means of new housing units, upgrades and slum clearances and subsides for low and middle income earners.

Electricity, water and sanitation have all been extended throughout the province; as of the end of 2012, 76.7% of KwaZulu- Natal residents have access to electricity at home, 83.5% have access to piped water and 80.4% have access to sanitation.

The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone has reached agreements with two investors who will be investing over R3.5-billion in infrastructural development, and the Tata Steel manufacturing plant are committed to a R1.2-billion expansion operation which will provide another 400 jobs. An additional pipeline of potential investors will come on stream as soon as the earthworks and infrastructure development is complete.

KwaZulu-Natal was selected for Nationwide Broadband Network pilot project and preparation for this project has already completed for 10 districts, which will offer broadband wireless facilities to 80 schools, contributing to the development of IT skills so essential to the growth of the economy.

These developments not only enhance the quality of life of the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal, they also foster a new, economically active market sector.

Rural Development and Agriculture

Many rural areas are rich in natural resources including coal and other minerals, game and a rich cultural heritage. Rural development aims to create a vibrant rural economy and sustainable lives for people in rural areas by providing them with appropriate technology, skills development and building an asset base.
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Approximately one third of land in KZN is under the custodianship of the Ingonyama Trust and the Provincial Planning Commission has established a close working relationship with the Ingonyama Trust to ensure that communal land will be protected, but also allow for access to land for economic development. The Provincial Growth and Development Plan has designated the potential for every district and identified Special Economic Zones, ascertaining which investments need to be attracted to which district.

Agriculture and food security is key, and Provincial and Local Government will create a hub to warehouse and market produce on behalf of subsistence and small scale farmers, establishing a market for home gardeners.

Financial support will be provided by the Provincial Government to augment municipal resources and Ithala Bank has agreed to partner and offer credit facilities to small growers. A Small Business Development Agency will also be stablished to support the co-operatives and small business involved in the initiative and the Agri-business Development Agency will support the process working with emerging farmers, especially after land restitution.

Special Economic Zones

District Industrial Hubs (also known as Special Economic Zones) have been created as new nodes of economic growth and development, ensuring that economic growth, job creation and opportunities are directed across the province, including small rural towns.
eThekwini Metro has been identified as an auto supplier park zone and a centre of excellence for solar, wind turbines and biofuels.  ƒƒ
uMgungundlovu is designated as a leather and creative industry hub.  ƒƒ
uThukela is an electronics hub, focusing on migrating from analogue to digital technologies
ƒƒ Amajuba is a clothing and textile hub
ƒƒ uMkhanyakude is an agricultural mechanisation hub
ƒƒ iLembe is a renewable energy hub, focusing on solar and wind turbines
ƒƒ Zululand has been designated for agro-processing and a major abattoir will be established in this region.
ƒƒ uMzinyathi is a coal-mining and minerals bub, with a focus on downstream processing of by-products including biofuels and paper products.
ƒƒ Ugu is a commodities hub geared to high value grains and legumes for the Indian market
ƒƒ Sisonke is a timber industry hub
ƒƒ uThungulu and the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone have been tasked with broadening the   industrial scope of this SEZ.
Education

95.2 % of all five-year-old children in KwaZulu-Natal are in school, and a learner transport programme transports seventeen thousand children to schools. 82.5 % of schools in the Province, catering for 71.4 % of our learners, are no-fee schools, and a daily meal is provided to over two million learners in impoverished areas. These achievements will form a solid base for the development of a more economically active populace and increase employment potential.

Healthcare

For the first time in recent history, the number of AIDS-related deaths is declining and life expectancy has increased from 56.5 years in 2009 to 60 years.

The prevalence of HIV has declined from 39.5 % to 37.4 % and HIV prevalence among the 15-24 age group has declined from 31 % to 25.5 %. The waiting list for anti-retroviral treatment has been cleared and mother-to-child transmission of HIV has also declined significantly, from 19% in 2007 to 2.2%.

Pilot sites of the National Health Insurance (NHI) system have been initiated in Amajuba, Umzinyathi and Umgungundlovu and the quality of service and care continues to be upgraded.

Community Care-Givers are being trained to distribute chronic care medication packaged in hospitals, saving senior citizens waiting in long hospital queues to collect medication when they do not need medical attention.

NGO partnerships for care for the disabled, senior citizens, orphans and vulnerable children have been established, foster care backlogs have been eradicated.

The social grant system has been updated to improve the integrity of the data and curtail fraud, and all beneficiaries are currently being re-registered using bio-metric access. To date, almost two and a half million beneficiaries and their children have been reregistered.

Crime

Operation Hlasela, a comprehensive strategy against crime, has been introduced mobilising communities to work with and support the police, in partnership with community safety structures and elected, religious and traditional leaders at all levels.

While much remains to be done, current statistics show declines in murder, illegal firearms, rape and sexual offences and human trafficking.

A forum against drug trafficking and substance abuse including representatives from Government and a broad section of civil society will focus on prevention, care, research and support for communities in eradicating drugs in their areas.

Green Growth in KwaZulu-Natal

The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal is committed to becoming greener, cleaner, sustainable and prosperous,and the Climate Change Council has been appointed to co-ordinate the work of the three tiers of government to ensure businessand society are provided with the necessary tools to ensure the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by increasing energy efficiency, without compromising sustainable development.

Renewable energy is a key objective for the provincial government, with the Ingula Pumped-Storage Scheme due to be commissioned this year, and the conversion of land-filled methane gas to energy by the municipalities also contributes significantly to the reduction of the carbon gas emissions.

The private sector also plays a major role. Many of the Province's sugar mills, for instance, produce power using bagasse as fuel to provide thermal generation of energy and the roll-out of solar energy has made a significant contribution.

Good Governance and Administration

The Provincial Government is committed to clean and efficient government, with a strong focus on good governance and decisive action against fraud and corruption in our Public Service.

The Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Unit monitors all departments and evaluates their performance against agreed targets, the Provincial Ombudspersons co-ordinates complaints against staff and the Premier's Operation Sukuma Sakhe Hotline (0800 596 596) has also been introduced to facilitate whistleblowers.

The KwaZulu-Natal Lifestyle

With an unmatched climate, spectacular scenery, beaches, mountains and game reserves and two World Heritage Sites in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park and the uKhanhlamba Drakensberg Park, KwaZulu-Natal has plenty to offer.

Major international events are successfully hosted in KwaZulu-Natal on a regular basis, drawing international and local recognition of the facilities and opportunities in the region.  These include long- standing annual events such as the Comrades Marathon, the Duzi Canoe Marathon, the Vodacom Durban July, the Midmar Mile and the Mr Price Pro Surfing Competition as well as regular international Super Rugby and Test Rugby fixtures and international soccer events (including the highly successfull 2010 Soccer World Cup).

World leaders met in KwaZulu-Natal at the 2013 BRICS conference, and 6th International AIDS will take place later this year. Leaders in healthcare will meet at the 11th World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine Congress and large scale international coverage of the 2012 and 2013 Top Gear Festivals have shone a light on the city of Durban.

With its stable economy, growing access to markets and the support of a strategically structured Integrated Development Plan that aims to facilitate growth in the region, KwaZulu-Natal offers enormous development and business investment opportunities.

Grant Adlam 
www.topbusiness,co,za





KZN has a Plan - Grant Adlam

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