Metro’s boost for big business leads to R567m bonanza

Revised investment incentive policy will lead to hundreds of new jobs

Bay mayor Nqaba Bhanga, left, economic development mayoral committee member Siyasanga Sijadu, and economic development, tourism and agriculture head Anele Qaba
BIG NEWS: Bay mayor Nqaba Bhanga, left, economic development mayoral committee member Siyasanga Sijadu, and economic development, tourism and agriculture head Anele Qaba

Positive results are showing from the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality’s revised investment incentive policy that targets businesses hit by Covid-19, with investments worth R567m coming within five years to the city.

The investments will see the creation of 417 permanent jobs within the next three years.

The municipality adopted a revised investment incentive policy in October 2020, which aims to improve the economic competitiveness of the Bay to attract, secure and grow domestic and foreign direct investment.

Bay mayor Nqaba Bhanga said the municipality’s economic recovery framework strongly suggested a proactive approach was needed that sought to prioritise business retention, expansion and attract new investments.

“It is for this reason that the economic development, tourism and agriculture directorate (EDTA) in its efforts to attract, retain and expand business investment has managed to secure these crucial investments for the city.

“This could not have happened at a better time than now when the whole world is facing catastrophic results of Covid-19 which are characterised by job losses, company closures and economic decline” Bhanga said.

Visit the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality website for more details.
Visit the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality website for more details.

Bhanga announced at a media conference on Wednesday that the investments were made by Dastile Wealth Insure, Formex and Clover SA.

Dastile Wealth Insure and Formex will be supported with rental subsidisation on private properties while Clover SA will be supported through discounts on municipal rates and services.

Bhanga said the municipality’s legal services directorate was tasked with reviewing the service level agreements that included an incentive contract to ensure all conditions were legally enforceable.

“Something had to be done.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our economy,” he said.

“The virus has destroyed livelihoods.”

He said many companies had complained about the lack of basic services.

“It is something that is coming right.”

According to the city’s economic development, tourism and agriculture head, Anele Qaba, the investment breakdown is:

  • Dastile Wealth Insure will invest R11.25m in the next three years and create 250 jobs in the same timeline;
  • Formex Industries will invest R70m in the next two years and create about 95 jobs in three years; and
  • Clover SA will invest a whopping R486m over five years and create 72 jobs in just three years

“It is investments like these that the incentive policy as revised is targeting to recover economically from the devastating consequences of Covid-19,” Qaba said.

“The municipality was proactive to put a plan in place on time and now we have started to reap the rewards.

“This shows that we will ultimately get the economy of this region back to its normal state and grow it beyond pre-Covid 19 eminence.

“Through strong partnerships and collaborations with private sector, we will without a doubt rise from the ashes.”

He said the economic development, tourism and agriculture directorate also had a further R168.6m investment in the pipeline by Bidcorp, which will be based in Walmer.

“This is an immediate investment with 100 jobs projected during the construction phase.

“The construction phase is expected to last nine months and will see 24 additional permanent jobs.”

Qaba said this brought the total investment by the four companies to R735.6m over a period of five years.

“The EDTA is now assisting Bidcorp with fast-tracking its environmental impact assessment (EIA) application at the Eastern Cape department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism (Dedeat),” he said.

“The approval of the EIA is the key to unlocking this important immediate investment in Nelson Mandela Bay and I am happy that the department has speeded up processes to a point that by the end of March an EIA authorisation will be issued.

“I had engagements with Dedeat regional manager Leon Els, and he assured me that the matter will be finalised by end-March even though the deadline was in April.

“It is partnerships and collaborations of this nature that will unlock various economic opportunities for this region.”

Qaba said the investment incentive policy had already started to yield results.

“I am very proud that while cities across the world are battling we have started to see businesses investing and expanding in the region.”

He said the municipality had received only three applications but that was probably because of the strict criteria.

“It must be a minimum of a R12m capital investment that will create 50 jobs.”

He said the municipality had encouraged the companies to employ residents.

“We encourage them to consider local people but they are allowed to appoint people they feel are [equipped] for the job.”

Economic development mayoral committee member Siyasanga Sijadu applauded the R735.6m investments by the four companies.

“Efforts of investment attraction, retention and expansion by EDTA continue to be a priority for the directorate,” she said.

“The directorate has taken a deliberate approach to intensify stakeholder engagement and cement collaborations.

“These stakeholder engagements would assist in establishing bottlenecks faced by the business community and respond timeously to resolve the identified bottlenecks where possible.

“The main objective is to ensure an increased flow of new investments and retain existing investments in the  Bay.”

This, Sijadu said, was through the creation of a business environment that was conducive for investors located in the region or those looking to establish a presence in the Bay.

Qaba, meanwhile, said to strengthen the directorate’s ability to attract investors, Mpho Jonas was appointed as director for trade and investment and assistant director Jeremy Dobbin for manufacturing and renewable energy.

“Jonas, who joined on February 1, has years of experience in leading investment facilitation and promotions at a national level under the Trade and Investment SA division.”

He said Dobbin, who worked at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber as its head of research, joined EDTA from March 1.

“Dobbin has a wealth of experience and is familiar with the local business environment as he was with the chamber before joining us,” Qaba said.

•This article is in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality 


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