Council has good news

2014-10-31 00:00

A MAJOR smelting plant is buying more land from Msunduzi Municipality for expansion, heralding good news for job creation and economic growth in Pietermaritzburg.

In addition, the municipality for the first time in years, is ahead in terms of spending its government grants.

Msunduzi executive committee (Exco) members were upbeat yesterday at the good news. However, their joy was tempered by the knowledge that they would have to ensure similar deals to fill the rates coffers.

This was after the news at full council on Wednesday that in future government properties may be exempt from paying rates. Councillors heard that the municipality stands to lose R62 million.

Councillor Bill Lambert said these were the kinds of deals the city would have to look for to cushion the blow if government is to pay reduced rates in the future.

He said it had been a while since he had heard of industrial expansion in the city.

The company, Alumincor, have an aluminium smelting plant on their property in the Camps Drift area. The plant supplies pure aluminium ingots to Hulamin. In its application for more land, the company said it wanted to expand its business premises to meet the ever-increasing demand for its material by Hulamin.

Lambert noted that the application had taken a long time to process and he questioned the role of certain officials, saying there was a need for staff to work with more urgency.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said the expansion showed there was hope for job seekers in the city. He apologised for the delay in finalising the deal.

There was good news for canoeists as well.

Deputy municipal manager for Economic Development Dr Ray Ngcobo said the company originally wanted to buy a hectare of land, but they reduced the land sold to 6 200 square metres because the rest of the area was earmarked to allow dredging operations on the Msunduzi River.

Ngcobo said it would allow events like the Dusi canoe race to co-exist with industrial development in the area.

Councillors were also impressed at municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi’s undertaking that officials would have their leave cancelled over the festive period if they were not meeting targets.

Nkosi said they intend spending 100% of the municipal infrastructure grant funding within this financial year.


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