Plans to unlock business growth in Ilembe

Investors and officials put their heads together to find ways of ensuring the Ilembe district reaches its maximum development potential.

This goal was discussed in a two-day Ilembe municipal roadshow last week which was hosted by Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (TIKZN) in partnership with Tourism KZN and Ilembe Municipality.

The theme focused on the challenges faced by investors and strategic measures which can be taken to improve them.

Also read: Nothing for mahhala in Ilembe

Speaking at the sessions held at eBandla Hotel and Conference Centre, Ilembe deputy mayor Dolly Shandu said the district was an ideal location for development but faced numerous challenges including unemployment and poverty.

“Key to the success of this district is to have sustainable life-changing projects that generate income, entrepreneurial skills and a sense of pride for our people, especially designated groups such as youth, women, and people with disabilities.”

Ilembe District Municipality deputy mayor Dolly Shandu.

During a panel discussion between investors and officials, strawberry farmer and owner of Cappeny Estates Yoliswa Gumede, made an appeal for solutions to the business challenges of the region to ensure its future.

The worst drought in KZN in over 30 years and the continued shortage of water was one of these challenges which she faced when she started her business in 2015.

“I am still optimistic about operating my business in this region, notwithstanding the economic challenges we are currently facing. As a black woman in the agriculture sector and is a first-generation farmer, I have had my fair share of both positive and not so positive experiences,” she said.

Acting general manager for marketing at Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Keith Matthews, believed it was important for the province to channel tourists to places that are not generally in the spotlight, while Enterprise Ilembe’s CEO Nathi Nkomzwayo, looked at the importance of agriculture in the district.

“We run agriculture through an expanded value chain method. From establishing farmers and supporting them right through the different phases of doing business,” he said.

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  AUTHOR
Erica Abrahams
Journalist

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