eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede, said the investment was part of the city’s plan for radical economic transformation that would allow small to medium sized businesses to tap into multi-million rand developments planned for the city.
“The city has invested substantially, to the tune of R624 million, on current projects like the Point Waterfront development and increasing our partnerships on other projects like the Centrum site attached to the Workshop Shopping Centre, the Warwick Precinct Berea Station Mall and the large King Edward redeveloped node,” Gumede was quoted saying in an IOL report.
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She said the city wanted to ensure that small business owners are not only given government contracts, but they are offered the adequate support to ensure that they are able to financially sustain the business going forward and beyond the contract, to be able to compete successfully with big business.
“Big businesses have the capacity and financial backing that keeps them afloat without depending on payment from the government within 30 to 60 days. That is the single crippling factor being faced by small businesses and as a caring city, we must do things differently if we are serious about bringing about economic transformation,” Gumede said.
The city, together with foreign investors from Malaysia, the Middle East and the UK, have spent more than R100 billion on “catalytic projects outside of the core CBD” and it has also invested a further R620 million in the first half of the financial year.
“We have matched the growing investor confidence in our city by re-investing millions into key economic nodes and we will continue to do so to encourage growth and create employment opportunities for our residents. This is all part of our council approved Inner City Master Plan and Regeneration Plan to increase our current CBD resident base from 80 000 to over 450 000,” she said.
– Additional reporting by IOL