18 MAY 2018

The session dignified by the presence of the MEC for Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr. Sihle Zikalala aimed to discharge and engage on the Budget Policy Speech delivered by Mr. Sihle Zikalala in Parliament on the 15th May 2018. The session further created a platform for engagement and interrogating empowerment programmes and opportunities available within the department, RBIDZ and Transnet. This was motivated by the significant government’s commitment to drive economic transformation and participation of all groups in the economic generation and growth.

Zikalala significantly emphasized that government has implemented various programmes to drive economic transformation, mainly focusing on rural development. Amongst others, he highlighted Operation Vula and RASET as the main vehicles to ensure that there is full participation of the previously marginalized groups, women and youth. He also reiterated his desire in seeing entities like Transnet opening opportunities and developing emerging businesses. He further mentioned that government was committed and willing to assist all those intending to develop their skills in doing business and this is evidenced by funding that has been set aside for development.

He did not leave RBIDZ out as the government’s vehicle to change the economic landscape of Richards Bay Region and further enhancing the socio- economic development.

‘We need to be always mindful that the RBIDZ’s focal points are cross-functional, and those being of attracting domestic  and foreign direct investment, and further drive socio- economic development and sustainability around areas of job creation, education, skills development and transfer. This is executed in various programmes being investments, infrastructure development, SMME training and development.’

 ‘Apart from strengthening our economic status as the province, the importance of RBIDZ lies in the fact that KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government has a vision of ensuring that this province is a Gateway to Africa and the World, this is heightened by the advantage that the RBIDZ is in close proximity to the deep-water port of Richards Bay, emphasized Zikalala’.

Proceeding from the business of the day, the breakfast session was also honoured by Consulate General of China, US and Mozambique and this enhanced the already existing relationship between the different countries and the Province’s committed intent to attract and promote Foreign Direct Investments.

A strong connection of private sector and public sector to grow relationships and catalyze action through extensive networking was also the order of the day. Conceptualizing programmes and accelerating initiatives to provoke action-oriented discussion on topical economic issues also formed part of the discussions that heightened the session and the audiences’ future aspirations.