Private sector ploughs R1.8bn in KZN’s special economic zone

The Dube TradePort Corporation (DTPC) has officially launched the second phase of the highly successful industrial precinct and special economic zone (SEZ) adjacent to the King Shaka International Airport, the Dube TradeZone 2.

The business entity of the KwaZulu-Natal government recently hosted a ribbon-cutting event where two factories worth over R180-million that are under construction within the precinct were previewed.

Mpumelelo Zikalala, the board chairperson of DTPC, said despite the constrained economic environment over the past two years, the corporation has secured seven private sector investors for Dube TradeZone 2.

Four of these investors have begun constructing their facilities. 

The total private sector investment value secured in Dube TradeZone 2 amounts to R1.8-billion and is expected to create 600 jobs within the next five years. 

Dube TradeZone 2 will target investors in the manufacturing, logistics, and automotive sectors while facilitating the planned expansion of several phase-one-based enterprises.

The launch of the second phase of TradeZone follows the successful implementation of Dube TradeZone 1, which has 50 investors and full tenants.

These include international companies such as Samsung, Mahindra, DHL, Chem Energy, and PepsiCo-FutureLife.

Instruments of job-creation

The economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC, Siboniso Duma, welcomed the investment as he reflected on the 30 years of freedom and democracy. 

He noted the establishment of SEZs as one of the achievements of a democratic government. 

He cited this investment as an indication that SEZs are instruments for creating jobs and economic development.

“As a government, we are focusing on SEZ for a good reason. They are designed for specific developmental purposes: to develop export-oriented industries, attract foreign direct investment and technology transfer, and achieve the generation of employment opportunities,” Duma said.

He claimed that SEZs are a useful tool for addressing “disturbing” levels of inequality, poverty, and unemployment that are strongly associated with spatial, racial, class, and gender factors.

In addition to job-creation, Duma said SEZs are broadening the municipal revenue-collection base to improve the quality of life in the municipal areas as well as the quality of municipal services.

Home to notable exporters

“This makes SEZs one of the key instruments for municipal economic growth and development.”

To date, the 26-hectare Trade Zone 1 has attracted more than R2.8-billion in private sector investment from enterprises focused on air-related logistics, distribution, and light manufacturing.

It includes the Dube Trade House, a dedicated facility for freight forwarders and shippers with airside access via an overhead conveyor air bridge to the adjacent, state-of-the-art Dube cargo terminal.

Dube TradeZone 1 is home to notable exporters that service the sub-Saharan African market and markets in Asia, Europe, and the US. 

In 2023/24, Dube TradePort tenants exported goods worth R610-million. 

Dube TradeZone 2 will open an additional 45 hectares of industrial land for development and bring to market another 23 fully serviced sites, which range in size from 3 000m2 to 57 000m2. 

It will also include three Dube TradePort-owned warehouses, one of which will accommodate medium-sized businesses, enabling the expansion of small businesses located in the mini factories.

Over 5 000 permanent jobs created

The two factories include the R166-million Yangtze Optical Africa Cable plant and R17.5-million development by HRMP, a 100% black South African-owned logistics company that specialises in the warehousing and distribution of graphite electrodes.

Ithala Development Finance provided the funding for this new facility.

Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal CEO Sihle Ngcamu welcomed further foreign investment by Yangtze Optical Africa Cable, which is already producing optical fibre cables and home solution cables for the local, Zambian, Namibian and Botswanan telecommunications markets at its facility in TradeZone 1.

This latest investment is expected to deliver a further 250 jobs over the next five years. 

To date, Dube TradeZone has attracted a total of R4.6-billion in private sector investment and created more than 5 000 permanent jobs. –

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