City Economic Development in Spotlight


Building on working relations between the City of Umhlathuze and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ), a high-level stakeholder engagement session on Thursday unpacked operations under way at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Held at RBIDZ Techno Park, the event was attended by the City of Umhlathuze leadership and executive council members, who were welcomed by RBIDZ CEO Thabane Zulu. It aimed to foster relationships and further familiarize the City’s leadership with the investment projects undertaken at the SEZ, and provide status updates on investment projects.

Acting municipal manager Nkosenye Zulu Reiterated that the city was strategically positioned and called on stakeholders to collaborate to promote Umhlathuze as an investment destination of choice. The city will look at policies to ensure that RBIDZ deliver its mandate and the strategy planning of the municipality will look at these points. We have many attractions locally and we need to continue to engage with stakeholders and look at partnerships and how to collaborate with the RBIDZ in industrializing the city, advancing Richards Bay while still conserving the environment, said Zulu.

The issue of security was raised as a challenge, with ongoing community unrest posing a threat to investment. The session conducted with a site tour of operations and groundwork under way at the SEZ.

RBIDZ executive manager Zainul Shiekh, during the site tour, highlighted that Pro Star Paints, a project valued at R141-million, will commence shortly as the contractor was appointed and site handover is expected in April. ‘It has been estimated that 50 permanent jobs will be created through this project that will create paints for South African market as well as for export,’ he said. An additional 50 people will be employed during the construction phase.’ The construction phase of Wilmar Processing SA, which will refine edible oils for consumer products and largely recognized brands, is under way and expected to be commissioned later in the year.


The RBIDZ is an organisation made up of real people, with a real dedication, and passion to effect real change in South Africa. This commitment and energy is apparent in all dealings with not only each other but with potential investors too.

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