DURBAN – Financial support of R1.1 billion has been provided to small and emerging businesses in KwaZulu-Natal by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the past five years.
This is according to MEC Sihle Zikalala who addressed the KZN provincial government lekgotla last week.
Zikalala said through the KwaZulu -Natal Growth Fund, his department had provided financial support to scores of budding enterprises.
“The performance of the KZN Growth Fund has surpassed our expectations. Over the past five years, the fund has recorded project approvals amounting to R1.1bn towards investments in diverse sectors of the economy that include manufacturing, healthcare, transport, logistics as well as in the telecommunications sector.”
Zikalala said the projects had created 9 795 job opportunities to date.
Zikalala said the KZN Growth Fund was instrumental in funding the establishment of many successful businesses, such as HBM SA, which is Africa’s largest condom manufacturing facility, and is located at the Dube Tradeport Special Economic Zone.
Another significant funding boost was given to a chemical manufacturing entity called Afro-Zonke, while the KZN Growth Fund also made an equity investment in two private hospitals, alongside a black-owned hospital management company, Busamed.
Newly appointed KZN Growth Fund chief executive officer, Aubrey Shabane, said his organisation was committed to reducing inequalities and the promotion of broad-based black economic empowerment.
“The fund has been tasked to play a key role in the provincial and national initiatives relating to creating black industrialists. We have approved over R400 million towards black industrialist-led projects,” he said.
Shabane, whose appointment was announced last week, was described by Zikalala as a dynamic leader and seasoned senior executive.
– THE MERCURY