‘Without jobs, PMB at risk of revolt’

2015-05-07 06:00

PIETERMARITZBURG needs to attract investors and create employment or risk a revolt by the poor. That was the warning issued on Tuesday by Msunduzi Municipality city manager Mxolisi Nkosi.

Nkosi was addressing delegates and investors during the opening of the Msunduzi Municipality investor conference held at the Golden Horse Casino.

The conference is expected to last until the end of the week. Different events have been scheduled for the period. They include a bus tour of the city and a conference for informal traders.

Nkosi said far too many of the city’s working age population were unemployed. “The employment figures show that about 35% of the employable population in the city is working and the other 65% is sitting doing nothing.

“We all know that an idle mind is the devil’s playground. We need to grow the economy so these people are employed or they will revolt against all of us.”

The total population is estimated at around 700 000. Rural areas such as Vulindlela, with very low employment figures, have also fallen under the municipality, increasing the unemployment statistics.

Nkosi said his administration was taking every step to attract investors, including a municipal land audit to identify land they could make available to investors. They have set up a business unit dedicated to businesses wanting to invest in big projects. These investors will not have to queue with other smaller investors and the turnaround time on approval of those projects will be quicker.

Clive Coetzee, the general manager of Infrastructure Management and Economic Services for KZN Treasury, urged the municipality to be more competitive by making sure amongst others, that the infrastructure is in place, in order to attract investors.

“Investors no longer invest in areas for emotional reasons. They invest in areas where they know they will get the most return on their investment. In order to attract investments, the city needs to be competitive.”

Mayor Chris Ndlela said they did not just want investors, but people who wanted to be citizens of the city. “We don’t just want investors who will come in, make money, and then go to live in Durban or Gauteng. Pietermaritzburg is a city which thrives on a partnership approach between all sectors of society, and we want investors to not just build and create jobs, but also to come here to live, grow and be part of our community.

“We describe ourselves as the City of Choice, second to none. A great city to live, learn, work, play, raise a family and do business in,” Ndlela said

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