Investment: Tourism, airport among development projects

2011-08-29 00:00

THE Hibiscus Coast Municipality held an investment conference with key stakeholders in business and industry on Thursday.

The aim was to share information about what needs to be done to promote business investment on the South Coast.

Mayor Nomusa Mqwebu briefly presented Hibiscus Coast Municipality’s projects for economic stimulation.

Municipal manager Sbu Mkhize followed this up with a presentation outlining the municipal framework and guidelines, which he said are aligned with government policies to promote an investor-friendly environment to ease economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.

Mkhize highlighted some key municipal economic development projects for the private sector to explore.

• Margate airport, which is being upgraded from a category two to category six airport with the capability to accommodate bigger aircraft

• The John Masson park, which involves the development of a big hotel in Hibberdene

• Hibberdene harbour upgrade

• Port Shepstone beachfront development

• Several urban renewal projects to give Port Shepstone and Margate a facelift

• Izotsha development for low- and middle-income housing

Mkhize said the key economic drivers for Ugu District Municipality are agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and commercial services.

He pointed out that tourism contributes much to the district’s economy as the municipality has six blue-flag beaches that enjoy international recognition and safe, clean facilities.

The municipality compromises both urban and rural areas. Many people in the rural areas live in poverty.

“Poverty in rural areas remains a challenge and we need to align our economic development projects to that of national government to stimulate rural economic development,” Mkhize said.

Businesspeople at the conference said they need the government to speedily approve their investment proposals to promote local economic growth. Said a business representative, Kwanele Gumbi, “Investors get discouraged by the length of time taken by government or municipalities to approve our investment projects, plans or proposals.”

The conference was followed by a gala dinner that was attended by KwaZulu Natal Legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni.

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