In a latest effort by government to promote industrialisation, the Dube TradePort in Durban will formally become a special economic zone under the new Special Economic Zones Act 16 of 2014.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies granted the precinct an Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) operating licence a few months ago.
President Jacob Zuma will officially launch the special economic zone today. The Dube TradePort was officially opened in 2012 and included development areas, Dube AgriZone and Dube City.
It’s named under African National Congress founding President John Langalibalele Dube. The development, near King Shaka International Airport, was designed to deliver a unique airport city, north of Durban, stretching from Umhlanga to Ballito.
Located between the two largest seaports in the southern hemisphere – Durban and Richards Bay – the Dube TradePort has in the last two years managed to boost economic growth and job creation in the province and the country.
Officials say turning the area into a special economic zone will boost its capacity as a major logistics platform for Southern Africa, as the Port of Durban provides connectivity to 53 international destinations and access to local distribution networks.
The development also forms an important part of government’s pipeline of major infrastructure development projects. One of them is the improvement of the movement of goods and economic integration through a Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor.
In the State of the Nation Address in June, President Zuma emphasised that the economy would take centre stage during this administration, announcing a target of five percent growth by 2019. In that speech, the President also said that local government would be revitalised and strongly supported, as the sphere that is closest to the people and the engine of service delivery.
Tuesday’s event is seen as step further to promote industrialisation and create awareness about the special economic zones programme and its potential to grow the economy and create jobs through creating a conducive environment for foreign direct investment.
South African Airways low-cost subsidiary SA Express concluded an agreement with the Dube TradePort Corporation, which led to a connection being established between King Shaka International and the region, especially to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique.
There were also plans for SA Express to expand into countries such as Namibia, Malawi, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Passenger traffic at the King Shaka International Airport is said to be steadily growing since its move from the old Durban International Airport.