11 AUGUST 2016

The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast has unveiled promising investment and job-creating capacities with the launch of two major projects.

At a double ceremony to mark Richards Bay Innovation Day, Sihle Zikalala, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs opened the Richards Bay IDZ Phase 1A Customs Control Gate Complex followed by a sod-turning event for the Techno Hub led by the MEC for Finance, Ms. Belinda Scott.

The RBIDZ is tailored for manufacturing of goods and production of services to boost beneficiation, investment, economic growth and the development of skills and employment. The IDZ aims to encourage international competitiveness through tax and duty-free incentives, as well as world-class infrastructure.

MEC Zikalala mentioned that ‘the opening of the R16-million Gate Complex in Phase 1A signals the readiness of the RBIDZ to attract even more investors to the zone, which will be a Customs Controlled Area (CCA) with dedicated RBIDZ Staff to provide support for access control and customs control requirements.’

The Gate Complex, which has been built by a local construction company, will provide office accommodation for the CCA officer, property officer, SARS officials as and when required, security control, visitor’s reception desk and a small conference room for up to 12 people.

“This is a significant and well-timed achievement for the RBIDZ as the first exporting tenant in the IDZ is set to start operating in September this year”, said MEC Zikalala.

He further highlighted that ‘the Techno Hub concept provides a platform for creative innovation that will allow small, micro, medium and large business to develop together so that the individuals from within these entities will initiate opportunities for future development and expansion of their industries’.

MEC Scott expressed the excitement of seeing uMfolozi TVET College and Mangosuthu University of Technology interest, and that they are keen partners in aligning their programmes with the Techno Parks to focus on the skills development and research into maritime and renewable energy respectively. “Correspondingly, we look forward to their tenancy in the Richards Bay Techno-Park where they will spearhead leading research in ICT, Renewable Energy and Marine Engineering”, said Scott.

RBIDZ CEO Pumi Motsoahae said a key priority is to establish effective infrastructure to drive Richards Bay’s development objectives to become KZN’s prime investment hub.

“RBIDZ is committed to ensuring it plays its role in helping to achieve government’s objectives of creating employment opportunities and investments for our area, which will lead to poverty alleviation and skills enhancement,” said Motsoahae.

He was thrilled that Richards Bay was chosen to host one of KZN’s four Techno Parks that will support innovation and enterprise development.

The Techno Park - is expected to draw high-tech entrepreneurs, private businesses, academic institutions, researchers, and investors interested in providing concepts through innovation in order to create platforms for commercialisation of technology and innovation-based businesses.

“Technology has proven to be a key role in modern economic development and innovation. Technology has also compelled a revolutionary shift in the way people work, play, interact and even think.
“The main aim of a Techno Park is to promote research and development of innovation and act as an incubation facility wherein both theoretical and practical knowledge are explored,” said Motsoahae.

He added the RBIDZ community must ensure that the Techno Park facilitates job creation, increases attractiveness of the region to potential investors and nurtures “a million dollar” idea that has the potential for growth and financial success.