The vision of the Umgungundlovu District Municipality was to evolve into a metropolitan and the retention and expansion of business was pivotal in achieving this, said, uMgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Cllr TE Maphumulo.

Welcoming delegates to the fifth district municipal roadshow by Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) in partnership with the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and the Umgungundlovu District Municipality, Mayor Maphumulo said to develop into a metropolitan it was important to create infrastructure and an environment that would attract investors.

She encouraged business, local and district municipal officials present to be active participants in the initiative which aimed to map a way forward for economic opportunities for all communities. “You need to share ideas. This is a significant exercise – not a talk show – and the outcomes need to translate into developments that impact positively on the communities.”

“The realisation of our vision hangs on the type of partnership that is built. It is for that reason that we are grateful to TIKZN for holding our hand in a partnership which we believe will yield the desired outcomes,” she said.

Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands – Umgungundlovu – have the opportunity to be the centre of medical excellence not only for South Africa but for Africa, said Melanie Veness, Chief Executive of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, in her opening address.

Over the past five years there has been enormous growth in the private health care sector. All the private hospitals have expanded and others have been built, a new eye clinic had recently opened; the Royal Hotel had been converted into a first-class medical step-down facility and a specialist neonatal hospital was mooted.

“We need to develop strong partnerships to make the most of what is happening naturally without much intervention and it is something we need to support,” she said.

Bemoaning the fact that the district had huge potential yet there was no medical training centre of excellence, Veness said: “We could be supplying doctors and nurses for the whole of South Africa and Africa.

“When the private sector sees an opportunity for growth, our job is, in partnership, to make sure that the environment for business is as conducive as possible. All we have to do is to provide those basic services well and make them more affordable than they are elsewhere. In some cases our tariffs are no-longer competitive.

“We need to sit around the table, put our heads together, come up with creative solutions, listen to what the market has to say and respond to it appropriately so that we can get as many new businesses to start as possible. We need to look at those basic services, infrastructure and whether we are creating an environment that is attractive to business,” she said.

TIKZN is the province’s inward investment promotion agency, established to promote KwaZulu-Natal as an investment destination and to facilitate trade and by assisting local companies to access international markets.

Outlining TIKZN’s activities, Innocent Hlongwana, TIKZN Project Manager said the organization identifies, develops and packages investment opportunities in KwaZulu-Natal; provides a professional service to all clientele; brands and markets KwaZulu-Natal as an investment destination; retains and expands trade and export activities and links opportunities to the developmental needs of the KwaZulu-Natal community.

Melanie Veness Chief Executive Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business

Melanie Veness Chief Executive Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business

“We help clients take their manufacturing ideas through the process from the research required into the concept and its viability to developing a business plan and helping to take the concept to potential funders. Once funding is secured we assist the client to take the project to fruition. Some of the assistance can also be financial up to R250 000 on a 50/50 shared basis.”

Other assistance includes help with imports and exports and participation in Department of Trade and Industry trade missions.

Hashila Daya TIKZN Business Retention Officer gave examples of the work of the Business Retention Department which works closely with the Department of Labour and the Department of Trade and Investment. Among its activities it assists with funding applications; helps with capacity building and training and visits business to see their problems firsthand and it works closely with municipalities and business chambers.

Daya presented a study undertaken by Donny Pethan TIKZN General Manager Business Retention and Expansion of disinvestment from KZN between 2010 and 2016 as well as a Business Health Index which the organisation is developing.

About Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal

Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) is a provincial trade and investment promotion agency, developed to promote the province as an investment destination and promote trade by assisting KZN based companies to identify markets and export their products.

At the helm of the organization is Mr. Neville Matjie, Acting Chief Executive Officer supported by the board of directors from the key industries in KZN. The institution also boasts highly skilled staff members mostly from the marketing, investment promotion, strategy and research as well as project management background.

Services that TIKZN offers investors:

  • The facilitation of joint ventures and business linkages between small and big business.
  • The provision of relevant, reliable information to investors and traders.
  • Assistance with applications for investment incentives and export marketing incentives.
  • Assistance to foreign investors with applications for business permits.
  • Negotiation of local government incentives on behalf of investors.
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