WELCOMING REMARKS BY THE PREMIER OF THE PROVINCE OF KWAZULU-NATAL WILLIES MCHUNU ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF ONE-STOP SHOP BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA HIS EXCELLENCY J.G ZUMA INKOSI ALBERT INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE
Programme Director; MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and Leader of Government Business Sihle Zikalala
Mayor of eThekwini Municipality Cllr Zandile Gumede and other Mayors present
His Excellency, President of the Republic of South Africa J.G Zuma
Deputy Minister Mr Bulelani Magwanishe
CEO of Trade Investment KwaZulu-Natal Zamo Gwala and other CEOs
Member of the KZN Economic Council Mr Dominic Collett,
Captains of Industry
Members of the media
On behalf of the Provincial Government and the people of KwaZulu-Natal, it is a special privilege to once again welcome the President of the Republic His Excellency J.G Zuma and members of the national cabinet.
We want to express our appreciation to the national government for choosing this province for this important facility which we believe we help our economy to integrate with economies of the world.
We cannot underscore enough the point that South Africa today faces enormous challenges that require comprehensive and targeted responses if we must reverse inequality, poverty and underdevelopment.
We are heartened by the fact that the South African government under the leadership of President Zuma has been be focusing on facilitating foreign direct investments throughout the corners of this country including KwaZulu-Natal.
Over the years we have hosted successfully international conferences and sporting events that have generated huge interests in this province. The World Economic Forum on Africa and the the Indian Ocean Rim Association Conference held recently are some of the few events that have positioned this province firmly as a destination for foreign direct investments.
Foreign investors are keen to invest in this province due to a conducive economic environment. We are saying this because KZN is an important hub of industrial development in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to our rich natural resources and well-developed infrastructure. Economic activities in the province are mainly concentrated in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, with significant contributions in the Richards Bay, the Ladysmith, Newcastle and Port Shepstone.
As the province, we have identified nine prime targets for inward investment. These are textiles, clothing, plastic products, chemicals (oil and gas), fabricated metal products, automotive components, wood and wood products, footwear, machinery and appliances.
In this province we have primary and processed aluminium at world competitive prices from local suppliers. This is something that provides a real opportunity for investors in these sectors.
Our special economic zones, the Dube Trade Port and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zones have also generated an interest.
Mr President since you launched Dube Trade Port in March 2012, this economic zone has signed investments exceeding R12 billion. These include a R1.3bn pharmaceuticals investment agreement which was concluded on the margins of the BRICS Summit, held in Goa, India, in October last year.
There is also a huge interest in RBIDZ, particularly because Richards Bay is the centre of operations for South Africa's aluminium industry. I also wish the report again to you Mr President that since Minister of Trade and Industry launched RBIDZ on your behalf few years ago, this economic zone has also signed investments in the region of around R11.9 billion representing different key sectors of the economy.
I am highlighting these Mr President as a way of paying tribute to you for your bold and visionary leadership. We thank you and your cabinet for establishing the two economic zones which have become catalysts for foreign direct investment.
People living in far flung areas that were neglected by the apartheid government are already benefitting from investments in these economic zones. Areas include King Cetshwayo, Ilembe, Zululand, UMkhanyakude and to a lesser extent UMzinyathi where many families live in squalor and abject poverty.
There is no shadow of a doubt that the additions of One-Stop-Shops in the economic zones will fast-track more investments for the benefit of our people.
This will also boost our manufacturing sector which is geared for export. As you all know, the third of South Africa's manufactured exports is produced in KwaZulu-Natal.
Programme Director and Honoured Guests, as we move forward, we will be conducting discussions during outgoing and incoming trade and investment missions with confidence knowing that we now have this facility at our disposal.
We undertake to continue to seek mutual trade and investment cooperation with our sister provinces using 27 consulate general offices which are located in this provinces.
As guided by Bilateral Relations between South Africa and specific countries, we have signed Memorandum of Understanding with a number of provinces and cities.
Over the years, the diplomatic corps have been encouraging entrepreneurs and multi-nationals in their respective countries to participate in sector specific joint business programmes including regular business seminars and forums hosted in KZN.
In addition, last year on the 10th November 2016, we hosted a luncheon for the European Ambassadors. All of them affirmed their commitment to promote people to people contacts and create business-to-business relations involving KZN based entrepreneurs and those in their respective countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, as I conclude I wish to reiterate that today is a special day for the people of KwaZulu-Natal especially our entrepreneurs. We must all celebrate that this democratic government has finally removed a red tape and all rigid process that served as a barriers towards a sustained inflow of foreign direct investment into the province.
We thank the Department of Trade and Industry for the co-operation. Equally, we thank all other departments that are involved in this facility. These include SARS, Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, Home Affairs, Labour, and Department of Environmental and other entities and municipalities.
We are inviting captains of industry and foreign governments to join us in a journey to create an equitable and prosperous province. This is the vision of our former presidents both Oliver Reginald Tambo and our beloved Tata Madiba who voted for the first time in this province.
I thank you.