The KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Sihle Zikalala, has reassured businesses operating in KwaZulu-Natal that the province remained a sound investment destination that had their interests at heart.
Speaking at the KZN Growth Coalition Breakfast held in Durban this morning and attended by top business leaders, Zikalala said government, working with business, had the urgent task of stimulating economic growth and ensuring stability in light of the technical recession facing the country.
“A stable macroeconomic environment remains essential in providing an environment where the private businesses can thrive. This implies that there is a need for policy certainty and sound regulations that guarantee the protection of investments by both domestic and foreign investors.”
Zikalala said while government would continue to ensure the creation of an environment conducive to investment, it was also critical for businesses to ensure that communities benefitted meaningfully from their operations.
“Our approach to radical economic transformation entails a change of mind set in approaching the economy and accepting that, if more people are given space to meaningfully participate, the size of our economy and its rate of growth will increase. It is also about deserting our comfort zones and appreciating that, as we deal with the legacy of apartheid misrule, all of us will have to make concessions and ensure that Black Africans in particular hold a more discernible stake in the economy.”
He said government had come up with far reaching initiatives such as Operation Vula and the Black Industrialists programme to ensure the inclusion of the Black majority in the province in the economic mainstream.
“There is wide social consensus that while significant strides have been made towards transforming our economy, far too many of our people, in particular women and the youth, are still peripheral participants in the economic mainstream.
When we convene on platforms such as the KZN Growth Coalition collective, our chief concern is that of coming up with tangible, win-win interventions to turn around what is undeniably a situation which places us on unsound ground, both as the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the country at large,” Zikalala said.
Citing a need to grow and support those industries that had the propensity to grow the economy create jobs, Zikalala said plans were afoot to bolster the manufacturing and mining sectors in KwaZulu-Natal. “In response to this challenge, we are working on convening a Manufacturing summit where we will discuss plans for stimulating the manufacturing sector and further explore avenues for protecting this sector.”
Zikalala said the province was also working with the Department of Mineral Resources to finalise preparations for a Provincial Mining Indaba which would be held later this year.
Issued by KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs