Richards Bay is a space to watch within South Africa’s reindustrialisation theme which is gaining momentum under a new economic development strategy titled the New Growth Path (NGP).
Adopted about two years ago the NGP was designed to reshape South Africa’s economy back into an industrial and manufacturing emphasis in an attempt to address the country’s stubbornly high unemployment. The NGP has bred new energy including of the Special Economic Zone Bill.
Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) CEO Ike Nxedlana reckons the zone is well positioned to maximize on opportunities provided by the proposed Special Economic Zone Bill being one of the fastest growing industrial areas in South Africa.
Already renowned for the largest deep-water port on the African continent and for its world class coal terminal, the RBIDZ has launched a 50 years economic development blueprint with an eye of securing the status of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
In a statement released this week the RBIDZ suggested that the area has a potential to become an industrial star that can deliver “a range of social and economic benefits for the Northern regions of KwaZulu Natal, as well as for the country as a whole”.
“Key stakeholders are expecting the project, which will initially comprise a total of 345 hectares of land with the potential to grow to over 1000 hectares, to deliver a range of social and economic benefits for the Northern regions of KwaZulu Natal, as well as for the country as a whole”.
“The project has almost infinite potential when it comes to issues of local and national economic benefits, job creation and sustainability. Central to achieving these objectives is the role of the company commissioned to prepare the 50-year Integrated Master Plan: Focus Project Management”.
Nxedlana said “Focus Project Management gets the big picture, and they have the skills to handle the finer details as well. As a consortium, they are proficient across a range of sectors, and with their understanding of the many complexities involved with this project we know that they have the capabilities to take the RBIDZ forward and to achieve our 50 year master plan”.
Services undertaken by Focus Project Management at the RBIDZ include Master Planning and Master Programme Development; development engineering, project and programme management, macro economic impact expertise; local economic development; specialist environmental planning; industrial estate planning; marketing, investment promotion and facilitation services and most importantly, phasing of the developments and construction programme planning.
Nxedlana said “The advent of the RBIDZ is primarily aimed at boosting economic activity and attracting international investors who wish to take advantage of the investment incentives on offer. The focus will be on encouraging investment in export-orientated manufacturing industries”.
“The strategy of the RBIDZ is to attract big investors that think local” said Nxedlana. This means local labour and existing SMME’s will benefit from the range of new clients who will be a part of the RBIDZ and Special Economic Zone.
“We have favoured investors who are more labour intensive, as this will further stimulate and contribute to the number of jobs that will be created over the entire course of this project”.