EThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede has reiterated the importance of growing township economies through the City’s Radical Economic Transformation Framework.

Mayor Gumede was speaking at the opening today, 23 June, of the three-day South Regional Business Fair in Umlazi where she launched the ground-breaking  R32 million KwaMnyandu pedestrian bridge which has 14 trading kiosks.

The pedestrian bridge is part of the Municipality’s public-private investment to the KwaMnyandu Node which will create safe and easy access to the mall and train station while also creating economic opportunities for small businesses that will be occupying the kiosks.

“The KwaMyandu Node development framework is expected to generate and unlock more than R2 billion economic activities, comprised of mixed-use investment,” explained Mayor Gumede.

To fast-track the earmarked economic returns, eThekwini has already secured a land lease for the expansion of KwaMnyandu Mall which will increase the value of local shareholding stake which is currently at 22 percent as well as creating more employment which is presently sitting at 700.

Also, land sale to the Ingonyama Trust has been approved by Council to construct a petrol station for the Node.

Furthermore, Mayor Gumede announced that money has been set aside for a R24 million light industrial incubator.

“The business incubation facility will accommodate 20 small businesses in various sectors including upholstery, manufacturing or chemical detergents and steel fabrication.  The incubator will primarily focus on providing appropriate business accommodation and building tailored development programmes for the incubates,” she added.

To bridge the connectivity gap between urban and township areas as well as rural areas, national Communications Department Acting Director-General Phumla Williams said: “Minister Ayanda Dlodlo is committed to work together with Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele to ensure that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa meets the target of making South Africa a connected country.”

Williams added that Minister Dlodlo and Minister Cwele are pursuing on this plan to ensure the accelerated and inclusive economic growth.

“The urban areas and mainly the affluent areas have the latest modern technologies while the rural areas and townships are underdeveloped with little of the infrastructure, such as electricity and telephone lines, broadcasting services that are needed to thrive in today’s knowledge economy,” she said.

This plan was commended by a young successful Umlazi social entrepreneur Nonku Xulu who advised young people to explore technologically advanced opportunities to grow the local economy.