IT WAS a historic day for local business people on 22 February, when Mayor Zandile Gumede announced opportunities for public and private investments worth billions aimed at developing black owned small enterprises.
This was unveiled at the launch of the Radical Economic Transformation Framework (RETF) at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre. The announcement was welcomed by local entrepreneurs, as it gave renewed hope to about 800 business people who came out in their numbers to hear the news first-hand. Business stakeholders, including the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the KwaZulu-Natal Growth Coalition applauded the Mayor for spearheading such a progressive programme.
During the launch, Councillor Gumede said: “Two decades later in our democracy, the majority of black people are still economically disempowered. The plan I am unveiling today aims to change that as I promised to do so when I was sworn in as Mayor.” She said the money invested will accelerate a number of projects in the City which will in turn benefit local businesses and communities.
One of the RETF’s core objective is to ensure that every project with a contract value above R30 million, sets aside 30 percent of the project for community participation groups. Projects that are between R5m and R30m must stipulate that 30 percent of the project value will be allocated to subcontractors.
Councillor Gumede outlined some of the programmes that were part of these multibillion rands investments, which include the R624m infrastructure investment upgrade at the Durban Point Waterfront. She added that other parts of the Central Business District (CBD) have benefitted largely from these large scale investment such as the Centrum site (attached to The Workshop Shopping Centre), the Warwick Precinct Berea Station Mall and the King Edward Hospital redevelopment node. “Outside the CBD, the City has committed Category A pipeline of other catalytic projects totalling over R100 billion by many investors,” she said. Councillor Gumede said another key project which will drastically benefit small farmers is the Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) where over R600m has already been set aside to kick-start this agricultural programme.
ASET is aimed at stimulating previously disadvantaged individuals in the food production value chain.
Councillor Gumede said to bring more business in the City, Durban will be hosting World Bank experts in March to assist with the development of a global best practice Investment Promotion Strategy.