DURBAN – The Dube Tradeport (DTP), one of KwaZulu-Natal’s Special Economic Zone(SEZ), is targeting R18 billion worth of private sector investments over the next five years.
Hamish Erskine, DTP’s chief executive, said to date the SEZ has attracted just more than R3.7 billion worth of private sector investments.
“For phase 2, our objective is trying to achieve nearly R18 billion. We would like to achieve that target in five years in TradeZone 2 and Dube City,” he said. The DTP said it hoped to open up TradeZone 3, which was its next phase.
Erskine said they were beginning 2019 with a feeling of tangible interest of optimism from the investors.
"We are about to make two announcements in the first three to six months. As the year progresses we intend to continue with that and convert another two or three major investments over the next twelve months. A lot of our projects are also well advanced.”
July 2018 also marked the commencement of the the construction of phase 2. "Within the next 12 to 18 months TradeZone 2 would be ready for occupation. We will be fast-tracking other investments in phase 1B to conclude other investment by the end of this year.”
The DTP was hit by infrastructure delays after two years of litigation brought by Aqua Transport & Plant Hire against DTP and the successful bidder.
However, the case was dismissed on spurious allegations.
Erskine said the past year’s subdued economic conditions had hindered investments they were pursuing and they were hoping to revive them this year. "We have not been recession-proof , but have managed to maintain growth in tenants, investment interests and physical investments over the course of the last year. We are looking positively into 2019 and 2020 in the pipeline. We expect the level of investment to increase including larger investments in the next 12-24 months," he said.
Erskine said that they had created the conditions to attract direct private sector investment be it foreign or domestic.
SEZs offer offer various incentives, reduced corporate tax rates, Custom Controlled Area (CCA) an employment tax incentive and state-of-the-art infrastructure to attract investors.
"We have added an operational and service element to that with zones well managed, services being good and team being focused on looking after the requirements of investors on an ongoing basis for foreign direct investment as well as domestic investment," said Erskine.
DTP has created over 4 832 temporary jobs and close to 2 800 permanent ones since 2012.
"We look to grow particular sectors, which are pharmaceuticals, electronics, clothing and textiles, aerospace and agri-processing. Our model is geared towards partnership with the private sector. Our relationship with the private sector is increasingly strong for every piece of investment we put in. We try to achieve a multiplier effect to private investment,” theDTP said.
Erskine said DTP’s primary focus was to achieve growth in new manufacturing capacity for South Africa.
Manufacturing and its localisation were now a key component of overall growth strategy around creating employment and eradicating poverty in the long term as it played a key role in the primary sectors which are mining and agriculture.
“We also have the tertiary/services sector, but at the heart of the economy is manufacturing. We have seen a lot of job losses in manufacturing in the last ten years and a shrinkage in it. It is very much clear at this stage that manufacturing drives innovation, skills development, supply and value chains which impact positively on the downstream and upstream economy and academic institutions.”
South Africa was seen as the manufacturing heart of the African continent, he said. It was critical to get the right balance and ensure manufacturing was growing in the right sectors.
He said it was important to use the right technology to ensure the full value chain to get with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
– BUSINESS REPORT