Chair of Dube TradePort Board; Mr Mpumelelo Zikalala;
Dr Thandeka Ellenson, Acting Head of Department of EDTEA;
Mr Hamish Erskine, CEO of Dube TradePort;
Mr Riaan Heyl, the CEO of PepsiCo;
Mr Mark Bunn, the Managing Director of FutureLife;
Officials across all spheres of government;
Members of the media
On behalf of KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, I wish to start by paying tribute to the entire executive management at FUTURELIFE.
This investment is not only timely but is a vote of confidence in the Dube Trade Port, our Special Economic Zone.
We thank the CEO of Dube Trade Port, Mr Harmish Eirskine for leading a committed team.
Today, we are here to inspire hope for a better future.
The investment of R75 million into this plant by FUTURELIFE has created hope for a better future.
More importantly, locating this business within the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone will ensure efficiencies in the operations while reducing the logistics costs.
Ahead of COVID-19 lockdown, about 315,000 people were employed in manufacturing, representing just of 12% of total formal and informal employment.
We wish to point out that plant is an integral part of our provincial industrial strategy, which enjoins us to stimulate the manufacturing industry in order to increase employment.
We thank PepsiCo for their investment in the food and beverage manufacturing business here in KwaZulu-Natal.
Programme Director, every day we read discouraging statistics about job losses, fuel price hikes and other economic challenges.
More than anything else about today – is the good news about job creation. Our people need jobs.
Today the people of KwaZulu-Natal are celebrating the following statistics:-
There are around 196 jobs people who are now employed in this plant;
Next year and moving forward, more than 230 people will be employed permanently.
Critically, we celebrate the fact that FutureLife procures 88% of its raw materials locally. These include Maize, Soya, Sugar, Rice, and Bran. In addition, all product packaging is procured locally.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the hardships that the last there years have brought to many families underscores the need to rebuild our economy through the stimulation of other sectors of the economy.
The industry-wide shutdowns as a result of lockdown destroyed many families and created social instability. Families lost homes. Others were evicted by landlords who also had no other sources of income. Cars were repossessed. And kids removed from schools.
Compatriots, as government through our entity Dube Trade Port and FutureLife, we have made it possible for many families to experience an improvement in the quality of their lives.
More job opportunities have been created for emerging entrepreneurs such as the youth and women in. The 18 mini factories that are located here at Dube TradePort are operational. We have entrepreneurs operating in various sectors such as food and beverage, medical equipment, and electronics.
What is even more important is that we have brought job opportunities closer to people around Cornubia, Tongaat, Verulam, KwaMashu, Ntuzuma and many other areas.
Honoured Guests, this makes the location of industrial nodes important because when these are established adjacent to townships or nearby settlements and also rural areas, they will play a crucial role in bringing jobs closer to where people live and advance our goal of building an economically inclusive society.
It is for this reason that following the adoption of the framework for local economic development, we are seriously look at an Integrated Township Economic Development Programme.
Together with industries, we must develop thriving local economies and position townships as focal points of government interventions as espoused by the presidential stimulus package.
At the heart of this programme is to get municipalities to be at the forefront of industrial development, including the revitalisation of industrial parks.
The development of the said industrial parks and other instruments of economic development requires an efficient provision of services.
Firms or companies anywhere in the world choose to locate and operate in certain cities, towns and regions because of certain pull factors.
These may include the availability of cheap serviced land, basic infrastructure that is well-maintained, efficiencies in the approval of building plans, turnaround times in electricity connections, and so on.
To have this pull factor, municipalities must be ready to perform better and be fully functional.
It is because of this recognition that the African National Congress as the governing party – has resolved to intensify the implementation of the Back to Basics programme.
We want to position our municipalities in general, including those hosting SEZs to get the basics of service delivery right.
Through COGTA, Provincial Treasury and the Office of the Premier providing monitoring and evaluation, we want to assist municipalities to resolve challenges in areas such as - infrastructure and service delivery, financial management as well as governance.
Our view is that functional municipalities will enjoy the confidence of the people, and will also attract investments and improve revenue streams.
For the benefit of SEZs, the municipalities should be in position to achieve the following:
They must address issues causing power outages by upgrading and maintaining substations to improve the reliability of electricity supply.
They must put in place security measures to address cable theft, extend basic services to all households and prevent illegal connections.
They must maintain and extend road infrastructure to sort out potholes.
They must identify and service vacant land for industrial development adjacent to where people live.
They must design and implement integrated transport plans to facilitate the flow of goods and workers between the SEZ and residential locations.
They must develop and implement human settlement plans that support the SEZ.
They must maintain and extend water and wastewater infrastructure to support the SEZs as well as the surrounding communities.
They must improve efficiencies in the land development approval – establish special land disposal committees to fast track the disposal of land required for the SEZs.
They should streamline the regulatory environment. This could be achieved by establishing targeted investment support programmes with streamlined and accelerated regulatory approvals. For example, as a result of this approach building plan approvals in Atlantis take just 5 days.
The municipalities should also work with a range of national, provincial and local institutions to put in place incubation programmes for local SMMEs. They should also be ready to support informal traders, many of which are the source of income for many families.
In conclusion, we wish to appreciate the involvement of the Department of Trade, Industries and Competition; and the Industrial Development Corporation, eThekwini Municipality and under the government departments in our Special Economic Zones.
We acknowledge the role played by our entities such as KZN Growth Fund, Trade Investment KZN, Ithala and others. It is through such a partnership that we will be able to put this province onto a path of growth and prosperity.
It is our wish that as we move forward, we get more of our emerging entrepreneurs involved in the distribution of FutureLife products.
South Africa has a population of over 54 million. Our province is home to more than 11 million people and is located in the eastern seaboard of our country, sharing border with three SADC countries, namely Mozambique, Botswana and Swaziland.
Considering that that South Africa is part of the world’s biggest socio-political and economic bloc made up of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICS) we now have endless opportunities. BRICS countries provide a combined market of about 2,9 billion people.
SADC, which we are part of, working together with other African regional bodies such as Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community form Africa’s biggest free trade bloc.
This has created a single continent-wide market estimated to be worth more than 1 trillion US dollars. These countries have a combined population of more than 590 million.
As government we want to work with FutureLife to ensure that our entrepreneurs to take advantage of these opportunities.
With those words, I thank you