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KwaZulu-Natal Business 2021-22

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The 2021/22 edition of KwaZulu-Natal Business is the 13th issue of this unique guide to business and investment in KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa. Launched in 2008, this annual journal has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the province. In addition to the regular articles providing insight into each of the key economic sectors of the province, there is a special report on the prospect of increasing exports on the back of the signing of a continental free trade agreement. The province’s export infrastructure is examined and the diversity and export successes of several companies in a wide range of sectors are noted. The increasing importance of the Oceans Economy to the future of the provincial and national economy is relevant to any examination of the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. This applies as much to trade and ship-repair as it does to the exciting gas discoveries which have been made off the coast of Mozambique and South Africa. To complement the extensive local, national and international distribution of the print edition, the full content can also be viewed online at Updated information on KwaZulu-Natal is also available through our monthly e-newsletter, which you can subscribe to online at


A REGIONAL OVERVIEW OF KWAZULU-NATAL Infrastructure projects will help the province build back better. “ By John Young Business events to be hosted in 2020/21 are expected to inject an estimated R1.2-billion into the local economy.” When the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, spoke these words on 4 March 2020 at the Royal Show Grounds in Pietermaritzburg, business tourism and tourism in general were projected to be significant earners for the province. A day later, on Thursday 5 March, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases confirmed that a suspected case of Covid-19, a person recently returned from a trip to Italy, had tested positive. And that was the end of tourism for the foreseeable – or unforeseeable – future. The first half of 2019 brought in a total of R14.4-billion in tourist spending and the year as a whole delivered an increase of 8% in international visitor numbers. The newlycreated Cruise Ship Terminal at the Port of Durban was ready to welcome guests, but it would be at least a year before cruises could resume. Tourism is a key sector in the KwaZulu-Natal economy and provides livelihoods to many thousands of families in urban and rural areas. The closing of borders brought real hardship to many areas in the province. Infrastructure The other good news in the Premier’s State of the Province address was not subject to the spread of deadly viruses. This related to infrastructure spending plans which give hope for the province’s ability to “build back better”. Some of the infrastructure plans include: • A housing project in Msunduzi comprising 25 000 units. The R2.5-billion Vulindlela project provided employment for 1 713 people and is in the final phase of construction. • New bridges to enable scholars to get to school safely. There are many rivers in the province so the 2020/21 budget makes provision for seven vehicular bridges and 12 Bailey bridges to be built in rural areas in partnership with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). • •Upgrade of the N3/N2. The South African KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2021/22 10

SPECIAL FEATURE A wetland conservation project run by Mondi, the packaging and paper company. National Roads Agency will spend R35-bllllon on this multi-phase project. • The launch of the Durban Aerotropolis Master Plan. The plan is to develop an airport city centred on King Shaka International Airport. • The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DEDTEA) has allocated R30-million towards the construction of a terminal building at Mkhuze airport following its runway upgrade. The department is also working with Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality to upgrade the terminal building at Margate airport. • Creation of an automotive supplier park. DEDTEA, Dube TradePort and eThekwini Municipality have signed a memorandum of understanding. • The provincial government intends contracting Broadband lnfraco to provide network services to be used by Dube TradePort to roll out more than 810 WiFi hotspots at 405 sites across the province. • The Isandlwana Heritage Project. It may seem ironic to be building tourism infrastructure at this time, but the future will include tourism. The Department of Transport and SANRAL are consulting local communities about further developing this historic site. Investment Between May 2019 and February 2020, inward investment commitments to the value of more than R15-billion were made. These included amounts pledged in most of the priority sectors identified by the provincial government, namely agro-processing, healthcare, manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism and property development. Other priority sectors include aloe processing, bio-ethanol fuel, fish processing and, more broadly, the Oceans Economy. The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at Richards Bay and King Shaka International Airport (the Dube TradePort) are key components of the strategy of attracting investors to the province. Dube TradePort attracted R7-billion between 2012 and 2019 and the same amount is expected to accompany the development of Phase 1A and Phase 1F of the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ). Two investors in 2019 were edible oils manufacturer Wilmar Processing SA, which is investing more than R1-billion in a plant, and Elegant Afro Line, which will spend about R900-million on its chemicals plant. There are plans to establish a clothing and textiles SEZ in the province to build on the province’s established strength in the sector and an automotive supplier park will soon be in operation. Toyota and Bell Equipment play a big role in the automotive sector while the Engen Oil Refinery is a strategic asset. The province’s existing infrastructure, good soils and fine weather provide a solid base for future growth. KwaZulu-Natal already has significant capacity in heavy and light manufacturing, agriprocessing and mineral beneficiation, all of which is supported by South Africa’s two busiest ports (Richards Bay and Durban), the country’s most active highway (the N3), a modern international airport and pipelines that carry liquids of all types to and from the economic powerhouse of the country around Johannesburg in the interior. Sappi’s dissolving pulp mill at Umkomaas south of Durban is one of the province’s most significant industrial sites as it produces huge quantities of a material that is used in viscose staple fibre, which in turn is used in clothing 11 KWAZULU-NATAL BUSINESS 2021/22

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