Address by Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal TW Mchunu during the visit of the Governor of Nevada
Address by Premier of the Province of KwaZulu-Natal TW Mchunu during the visit of the Governor of Nevada - Breakfast Meeting held at the Hilton on 02 August 2018
Mayor of eThekwini Municipality Cllr Zandile Gumede
Governor of the State of Nevada Brian Sandoval and the entire delegation
US Consul General Sherry Sykes
Members of the Executive Council
Captains of Industry
On behalf of the Government and people of KwaZulu-Natal, it is a special privilege to welcome you to the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.
We stand honoured by your presence here Governor, and your delegation, and want to express our heartfelt and warmest welcome to Africa and to the wonderful province of KwaZulu Natal.
We wish to pass this message of friendship to the people of the State of Nevada and the United States of America, with whom we have very productive and cordial relations.
We regard your presence here and your entire delegation as significant and a step towards the cementing and increasing of relations which have been growing strong at least since 2017 and even since 1994 when we attained our freedom.
As you may be aware, KwaZulu-Natal hosted the BRICS Business Council from the 22nd to the 23rd July 2018 here at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.
In our interactions with our partners across the world, we always wish to stress that we are a country that is open for business. We are by extension, as KwaZulu Natal, a province that does everything to take advantage of the opportunities available to us.
In particular, we believe as you have indicated that there are many opportunities for our business people to interact, as much as there are sectors and industries in which as governments we can and should collaborate.
As KwaZulu Natal there are many advantages that we offer, some of which bear mentioning very briefly.
We are a province that believes first and foremost in the rule of law. We are bound by our Constitution and believe in the rights of all people and the independence of the judiciary.
This is important. It means that given our open and robust legislative arm, we have certainly of laws and we are in the process all the time, of providing an easy and conducive environment for business.
As you have been briefed, we are a coastal city with many advantages relating to having two major Ports in Durban and Richards Bay.
With our two harbours, Richards Bay and Durban, as well as the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, the state-of-the-art Dube Trade Port, as well as the King Shaka International Airport, we are determined to create win-win partnerships for our sister States in the world.
Our road and rail network links us to the rest of South Africa, as well as neighbouring African countries. This means that the province is strategically positioned to be the logistics gateway into Africa and to the rest of the world.
The Maputo Corridor forms a major part of this vision, as it is a trade corridor which connects KwaZulu Natal with the provinces of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga as well Maputo the capital city of Mozambique.
To date, over 5billion United States dollars have been invested towards the corridor since it was first planned in 1994, signaling government’s commitment to lower barriers of trading within the province.
The province has another unique feature, as it shares its borders with three (3) neighbouring African states of Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland thereby facilitating trade with these nations.
It is interesting to note that – the Durban and Richards Bay ports handles approximately 78% of South Africa’s cargo tonnage. The Richards Bay Coal terminal, the largest export coal terminal in the world handles about 72 million tons of coal every year.
The Richards Bay Industrial Development Zones, which is located in the Port of Richards Bay (RBIDZ), is being developed as a site and an anchor for energy infrastructure – especially Oil and Gas in line with Operation Phakisa.
Clearly, we have an economy that is diverse and that is seeking to open up more opportunities for our people, especially those who have hitherto been excluded from the mainstream of the economy since the days of apartheid.
The call for the transformation of our economy in order to bring in the millions who are currently in the periphery, is made out of the need to grow the economic cake.
We have realized that in addition to the need to address issues of unemployment, poverty and inequality as human rights and socio economic issues, we are under-utilising our resources if we leave the majority outside.
What this calls for is a deliberate plan to develop skills on a massive basis across society. Perhaps unlike any country in the world, we are aware of the need to skill our people in industries that are at the cutting edge of economic and industrial growth today.
Among others we have identified the maritime sector, the aviation sector, innovation, telecommunications, information communications technology to mention a few.
Within the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution, our government has invested in the RBIDZ Techno Park. This Techno-park is the second of four science and technology innovation centres to be rolled out in this province.
Our Provincial Treasury indicates the total cost of developing four comprehensive and fully occupied techno hubs in KZN are estimated at R5.4 billion over a 15-year period. The associated operational costs are estimated at R6 billion over the 15-year period.
We understand that the digital economy is rapidly becoming the economy of the future and ignoring this will leave us behind. This is likely to bring new opportunities for new skills and technology.
Programme Director, a recent assessment indicates that we have something to offer in all of these sectors real estate and business services, infrastructure development and construction, transport, storage and communications, tourism, mining and beneficiation, wholesale and retail trade and finally manufacturing.
We plan to focus on a sustainable basis on the development of agriculture and agro-processing while we continue to go beyond the slogans and to engage actively with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Programme Director, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mr. Sihle Zikalala will have opportunity to provide further detail on the massive economic opportunities in KwaZulu Natal as we engage further.
However I must draw your attention to our Invest South Africa – One Stop Shop, which is located at the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, Dube Trade Port and at Trade Investment KwaZulu Natal.
This is a facility by means of which we seek to reduce both regulatory inefficiencies and the red tape for potential investors ensuring the smoothest route possible. In practical terms this means we offer a wide range of support services such as company registration, tax clearance, visa applications and all business registration requirements in one stop.
As a country we aim to create 11 million new jobs by 2030. On the other hand KwaZulu-Natal will have to create 2.1 million jobs by that time. For this to happen our economy must grow at a more than 4% annually.
We see the opportunity for partnership and collaboration across a number of areas.
We thus wish to call on the world and the people of Nevada and the entire USA to join us as we rebuild our country and province as we leave behind our divided past as look forward to future in which all our children shall prosper together.
I wish you an enjoyable and productive visit and hope that we can take our relationship further by discussing the possibility of KwaZulu Natal visiting Neva soon.
I thank you.