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January 2021 edition

KZN targets job creation, economic growth

Written by Noluthando Mkhize

State of the Province Address

The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) remains an engine for job creation and a catalyst for foreign direct investment in KwaZulu-Natal.

Speaking during his recent State of the Province Address, Premier Senzo Mchunu said the facility had already attracted investments of more than R6. 8 billion, including a R4.5 billion titanium plant.

Key milestones in the development of the facility include the R2 billion biomass plant, R300 million pipe manufacturing plant, R16 million paint manufacturing enterprise and the R20 million logistic services.

“The manufacturing sector is the backbone of the economy of the province. The reality is that this sector has huge demand on electricity. It is for these reasons that we are using RBIDZ to pioneer an energy production hub.

“Currently, about 20 hectares of land have been identified at the Bayside to host gas-to-power operations in an effort to yield diversified energy generation capacity from renewable sources. More than 1 800 jobs will be created during construction,” said the Premier.

MINING SECTOR

He added that the mining sector remained a critical component of the provincial economy, with great potential for beneficiation along the mineral value chain.

“In 2013, mining contributed R9.3 billion to the provincial Gross Domestic Product, which represents about 1.9 percent of the provincial economy.

The Premier noted that the province had developed a KZN Mineral Beneficiation Strategy, which is aimed at driving the minerals sector in KwaZulu-Natal towards a more profitable, socially accountable and environmentally sustainable future.

“We are currently conducting an analysis of the contribution of coal and phosphate in terms of their socio-economic development, risks and opportunities.”

UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF SMMES

Premier Mchunu said more than R169.6 million in loan capital had been approved to fund cooperatives, contributing to the creation of more than 7 130 jobs.

“Our long-term goal, as government, is to ensure that our cooperatives are competitive and operate on equal footing with co-operatives in developed countries.”

In addition, the KZN Small Business Development Agency together with Ithala, provides financial and non-financial support services to the cooperative sector.

“A SMME Academy is to be established to provide the necessary skill desperately needed by SMMEs both in the formal and informal economy,” he added.

GROWING THE OCEANS ECONOMY

The launch of Operation Phakisa in the province by President Jacob Zuma a few years ago ushered in a new era for the country, said the Premier.

He added that the interest that has been generated in the maritime industry has been overwhelming and due to the interest from the sector, the province would establish the KZN Maritime Institute.

“We want the institute to focus on the production of enough skilled workforce that will ensure a sustained growth of this sector. The world fleet of over 50 000 employs about 1.4 million seafarers, this opposed to South Africa which employs about 1 500.”

TVET LEARNERS AND UNEMPLOYED YOUTH

The province has also been doing its bit to facilitate skills development.

“Currently, provincial departments have used funds from their one percent skills levy to accommodate 1 237 graduates on the Public Sector Internship Programme at a cost of more than R74 000 000, with SETA funding of R1.2 million.”

The province is also supporting 680 learners to the cost of R61 million through learnerships and apprenticeships in various fields.

PRIMARY HEALTH

The Premier said primary health care re-engineering was being prioritised to reach more children at household level.

“To reduce morbidity and mortality from cervical cancer, a total of 162 000 women were screened for cervical cancer and 136 415 Grade 4 girls received the Human papillomavirus vaccination.”

“Successes have been seen in the implementation of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, which now stands at 1.3 percent, making the goal of an AIDS-free generation by 2030 a reality”, he added.

Premier Mchunu acknowledged the partners who had worked with the provincial over the years to turn around the situation.

AGRICULTURE AND AGRO-PROCESSING

The revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value chain, was a critical component of the province’s economy to unlock growth and expand employment opportunity, he added.

“It is for this reason that we are currently implementing a KZN Agrarian Transformation Strategy, which will contribute to rural economic development, increased production, job creation and market access for farmers mainly in rural areas through their integration into global value chain.”

Groenvlei, at Emadlangeni, has been identified as Agri-village and will be prioritised for implementation in the 2016/17 financial year.

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