The inaugural flight of Cemair from Oliver Tambo International landed at Margate Airport at just before half-past four on Friday afternoon. It was an auspicious occasion attended by local dignitaries from all over the District and neigbouring municipalities as well as company executives. The overall vibe was wonderful, with all the main speakers expressing their delight that a regular air service has been reinstated between Johannesburg and Margate.
Both the inaugural flight from Johannesburg and the return trip were fully booked, and Cemair CEO Miles van der Molen was extremely upbeat about the bookings already received, which he described as “beyond all expectations.”
eHowz!t is processing a full video report on the function, and will be posting it as soon as it is ready………….meanwhile, we have a few stills to give an idea of the proceedings……
|Local Municipalities within Ugu District:||Hibiscus Coast Municipality; Ezinqoleni Municipality; Umzumbe Municipality; Umdoni Municipality; Vulamehlo Municipality; Muziwabantu Municipality|
|Main Towns:||Scottburgh; Umzinto; Harding; Margate; Port Edward; Hiberdene; Mthwalume; Ezingolweni; Shelly Beach; Marburg|
|District Mayor:||Cllr N Gumede|
|Population Density:||123/km2 (2011)|
|GDP:||R7.76 billion (2007)|
|Languages:||English; isiZulu; Xhosa; Afrikaans|
This resolution was made at a September 2012 Cabinet Lekgotla and almost a year later it is finally taking effect with SALGA KZN and CoGTA KZN as the coordinators of this process. This was given effect through a development agency workshop held by CoGTA KZN on 16 – 17 August 2013 following SALGA KZN’s knowledge sharing session on development agencies in June and district one-on-one meetings a month later.
The workshop was led by the MEC of CoGTA, Honourable Nomusa Dube and supported by the Chairperson of SALGA KZN Cllr SW Mdabe, who is also the Mayor of the most successful development agency in the province, Enterprise iLembe. The workshop was attended by representatives from all 10 districts in the province and on the first day the HoD of CoGTA Ms N Qhobosheane gave a status quo of agencies in the province which revealed that only three districts (iLembe, Sisonke and Umkhanyakude) currently have development agencies.
Expert presentations were made by Mr Stuart Bartlett from the IDC’s Agency Development Support unit who said that: “I must commend the province of KwaZulu-Natal for the leap they have taken in establishing province wide development agencies and noted that although the IDC no longer funded agencies, it is still committed to providing funding for individual projects.” Ms Phila Xuza, Executive Director: Economic Development and Planning at SALGA National (former CEO of one of the country’s most successful development agencies, Aspire) made a presentation on district development agency realities. She emphasized the importance for agencies to be established for a particular purpose and not for the sake of having them and that agency CEOs have to make sure they serve the parent municipality and not exist in isolation. She added that “as SALGA we are committed to giving agencies the support and advice that they need”, as such SALGA plans to pilot a six months Professional Development Programme for Regional Development agencies in the province.
The first day of the workshop concluded with the launch of the Enterprise iLembe Winery which has created local jobs. On the second day the private sector was given a platform to map out what they expected from development agencies and shared some of their experiences as role players in local economic development.
The workshop is a culmination of a series of interventions undertaken by SALGA KZN to support and advice district municipalities in the establishment of development agencies. On 27 – 28 June, SALGA KZN held a knowledge sharing session on the establishment of district development agencies where districts were given insight into the establishment, operations and funding of a development agency and also introduced to the National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP); a catalytic project for the agencies. The Chairperson of SALGA KZN, Cllr Mdabe made special visits to those districts which required extra assistance with the establishment of district development agencies such as Hibiscus Coast Development Agency which is a local agency in Ugu District and needed to be migrated to a district agency.
The workshop held last week concluded with the following resolutions:
AN article that appeared in the Mercury recently has revived a long-standing debate over the relative merits of tourism versus agriculture on the South Coast.
In the article, ‘Salvation of the South Coast’, written by Colleen Dardagan, Frikkie Brookes from the provincial planning commission urged the South Coast to focus on agriculture rather than tourism. However, South Coast business people appear to be in agreement: there is great potential for both industries in this area.
“The tourism versus agriculture debate should not be clouded in negativity and be a ‘choose one syndrome’. I can find no plausible reasons why both these sectors cannot be primary drivers of our economy. The fact that our local economy has the propensity to accommodate both sectors points to strengths and opportunities,” Ugu District municipal manager DD Naidoo said.
He added that the debate showed that the South Coast had two very strong industries. It was up to the South Coast’s leadership to ensure that both lived up to their potential.
Commenting on the article, Ugu South Coast Tourism chief executive Justin Mackrory advocated a multifaceted economy as protection against an economic downturn, as well as a holistic approach to the economic development of this area. However, he believed that tourism rather than agriculture was currently the most likely industry to create and sustain jobs.
“Something like 67 percent of our greater South Coast economy, through direct, indirect and induced spend, is reliant on tourism. It is clear that tourism is presently the forefront economic sector in the area. It still requires growth and a coordinated developmental approach in terms of attractions, events and tourism support infrastructure in order to retain destination competitiveness,” he said.
He believed that the retention of institutional and private sector support for the tourism sector should be continued. If the agricultural sector was to realise any new developmental impetus it should be done without compromising the existing focus on tourism.
Agriculture on the South Coast has, over the last few years, faced a number of difficulties. Farmers in this area have had to deal with the recent increase in the minimum wage for farm workers and unresolved land claims that have discouraged investment in their industry.
Even so, Olliver Ransome, chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association, said he believed agriculture in this area had enormous potential.
However, commenting on the rather bleak picture of South Coast tourism the Mercury article painted – a once-fashionable playground that had failed to keep up with the times – Prof Ransome said his organisation believed tourism was still the economic engine of the area.
“In the short term there is huge potential and we have identified the factors that can help achieve this,” he said.
He urged all involved in the tourism industry to remember that theirs was a highly competitive business. They had to keep their product, the South Coast, in tip-top conditon.
“We have stiff competition. We have to keep up with popular holiday destinations like the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, beautiful Western Cape towns like Hermanus and the Garden Route. To do so we need to maximise our many advantages,” he said.
Local government had a major role to play. It needed to attend to safety, cleanliness and the enforcement of by-laws. The area had experienced some problems with these issues but there had been a definite improvement recently, he said.
While agriculture was an important South Coast industry, it could not be described as the most important, said Blaine Peckham, the president of the South Coast Banana Growers’ Association. It was, though, an industry that should not be overlooked. He believed it had huge potential for creating jobs with a minimal outlay of money.
According to figures that were given to Prof Ransome, tribal trustland made up about 38 percent or 300 000 hectares of the Ugu District. When asked if this land had agricultural potential, Mr Peckham said there was a great deal of goodwill among established commercial farmers who were looking at ways of mentoring and assisting small-scale rural farmers. There were already projects started by commercial farmers in the rural areas that were being successfully maintained, he said.
“As a region let us agree that both tourism and agriculture can be the lifeblood of our economy,” Mr Naidoo concluded. He called on everyone to use this fact as a catalyst to grow the economy.
Siyavuna Abalimi Development Centre is using community engagement and empowerment to help rural farms become viable businesses.
The non-profit organisation works in the Ugu District in rural KwaZulu-Natal, stimulating economic development through its agricultural programmes.
It sets up and registers rural-based co-operatives, which purchase and then resell local produce from farmers under the Kumnandi brand.
Produce is acquired at a price that is rewarding to farmers and, says Siyavuna, “the emphasis is on organic production, doing away with expensive and hazardous chemicals and reverting back to traditional planting methods”.
Siyavuna’s operations are guided by a model called the Agricultural Sustainable Community Investment Programme (Agri-SCIP), which, the NGO believes, creates a mechanism for cash to be brought into the community and circulated locally.
This increases local job creation and economic development, and reduces poverty.
By linking farmers to markets, “the programme provides a potential avenue for many of them to grow their production and skills base”.
By selling all produce under one brand, Siyavuna’s model minimises competition between local farmers.
The organisation trains and mentors farmers on organic farming methods and then links them to the local co-operative, providing a guaranteed market for their goods.
All of the co-operatives establish collection points within walking distance of the farms involved, making them viable selling points.
Farmers deliver goods weekly and are paid cash.
The co-operatives are made up of the farmers themselves, giving them an opportunity to learn to operate successfully and to manage an agricultural business — information they can take back into their communities and pass on to others.
Siyavuna director Diane Pieters says the co-operatives set up farmers’ associations in each area in which they operate.
A local farmer is voted in as a community field worker who assists at the collection point, as well as being able to represent the community on the co-operative board. Meetings are held in isiZulu so that everyone can participate fully.
Siyavuna employs trainers and mentors who provide ongoing support to farmers.
The majority of the farmers — more than 80% — involved are women, “the most vulnerable group in poor communities.
“By empowering women and providing an avenue for them to generate income from their land, they increase in financial independence”, says Pieters.
The organisation is also actively engaging with young people, encouraging them to develop their own agri-businesses through the Agri-SCIP model.
This will have a positive impact on poverty alleviation as a large number of rural unemployed youth are finding ways of becoming economically active without having to go to urban areas seeking formal employment, Pieters says.
“What differentiates Siyavuna from others in this space is that we grow and sell organic produce,” she says.
“Growing organically is closer to traditional farming practices and requires fewer inputs. It is therefore a cheaper way to produce goods and is done in a way that is good for the environment. It is also a healthier alternative for the families as they consume part of what they grow.”
Organic produce is usually sold at a premium price, which benefits the farmer-owned agri co-operatives. The income from sales of produce goes to the co-op and not to Siyavuna, says Pieters.
Some of the farmers involved in the programme get an even bigger hand up. Of the 320 participating farmers, 31 have been selected as advanced farmers, called M3 farmers.
These farmers have expressed a desire to develop their agri-businesses on a larger scale and Siyavuna is providing them with additional training in agriculture and entrepreneurship.
“The focus is on supporting them to establish successful agri-businesses that make a big difference in the fight against poverty,” Pieters says.
Siyavuna operates in seven areas and aims to increase this to 10 by the end of its 2013/14 financial year.
It also plans to expand its engagement with community participation by getting involved in the agricultural faculties of the local further education and training colleges, recruiting graduates, offering in-service training opportunities to agricultural students and engaging in the curriculum of the college.
Although this article has been made possible by the Mail & Guardian’s advertisers, content and photographs were sourced independently by the M&G supplements editorial team. It forms part of a larger supplement.
KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economy, contributing on average 16.4% (1995-2008) to the country’s GDP. The province is strategically positioned by being home to two of Africa’s busiest and largest ports, Durban and Richards Bay. It also boasts the third highest export propensity and the second highest level of Industrialisation in the country.
South Africa is one of the world’s top business destinations and is strongly supported by well developed infrastructure, equipped with every convenience and delivers high levels of service expected by the business world.
South Africa is rated among the top 10 in the world in the category of investor protection and good fiscal governance. The World Bank has rated South Africa among the top 35 countries for ease of doing business. South Africa is also regarded as one of the least costly areas in which to establish a business (Doing Business Report 2012).
KwaZulu-Natal is a major role player in both the manufacturing and transport and logistics sectors in South Africa, and is a premier domestic and international tourist destination. With two of Africa’s busiest ports and world-class road and rail infrastructure, KwaZulu-Natal enjoys the strategic and competitive advantage of being a global gateway for trade into Southern Africa and to the world. Its strategic location and highly developed industrial sector ensure a competitive edge for both local and foreign investors and unique advantages for local exports.
Investment in KwaZulu-Natal continues to emerge as a major contributor to South Africa’s growing economy and its favourable business environment has made the province a sound investment destination for investors from around the world.
Situated on the eastern seaboard of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal has direct access to both the Indian and Pacific Ocean rims. The region’s strategic geographical position on world trade routes provides effortless access to major global markets, such as South America, Europe and the Far East.
The province of KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economy, contributing 15.8% (2010) to the country’s economy and is deemed to be one of South Africa’s leading economic and business hubs. According to Statistics South Africa’s 2011 mid-year population estimates, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is the second most populous province following the Gauteng Province.