Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Eastern Seaboard Development engagement, Ugu sports and leisure hall, Ugu District Municipality
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Mr Sihle Zikalala,
Deputy Ministers of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Obed
Bapela and Ms Thembi Nkadimeng,
MECs from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal,
District and Local Mayors,
Acting Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders
All our amakhosi present here today, whose presence is valued and appreciated,
Representatives from business and the investor community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a pleasure to be here today to witness first-hand the opportunities that arise when government, business and communities- led by our Traditional Leaders mobilise around a common vision.
In the case of the Eastern Seaboard Development, this is a broad and multi-faceted vision.
Firstly, it is a vision to translate from policy into practice the District Development
Model, which aims to improve the coherence and impact of local service delivery.
Secondly, it is a vision to overcome the legacy of apartheid spatial planning, which continues to limit the economic opportunities of millions of black South Africans.
Thirdly, it is a vision to strengthen economic linkages between our provinces through mutually beneficial development.
Fourthly, this development aims to harness the potential of the vast natural endowments of the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape for economic growth.
As I said in the State of the Nation debate in February, South Africa is a country of many endowments.
As a nation, we have many capabilities, strengths and attributes that we can and must draw on as we rebuild and transform our society.
Our country has vast tracks of arable and fertile land.
We have abundant sunshine and temperate weather.
We have a coastline stretching some 2,800 kilometres, from east to west, touching two oceans teeming with marine resources.
Our fauna and flora places us as one of the top five most mega bio-diverse countries in the world.
Much of this natural endowment is located right here in the districts that are part of this development, from pristine beaches and waterways to tourism attractions, and from diverse marine biology to fertile land with significant potential for cultivation.
This natural endowment presents great growth opportunities in the oceans economy, tourism, agriculture, mining, and oil and gas development, among others.
If harnessed effectively, this natural endowment has the potential to revitalise local economies, create jobs and sustain livelihoods.
Translating the vision for this Eastern Seaboard Development into reality requires cooperation between the public and private sectors to mobilise investment for catalytic and transformative projects.
Investors will provide the investment, but government will create conducive conditions for this investment.
For us to do this, for us to position this as a development that can yield substantial and sustainable returns on investment, we have to strengthen the capabilities and improve the functioning of local government.
Strong, well-run municipalities that are able to deliver services to communities and businesses attract investment.
Conversely, poorly run and badly administered municipalities deter investment.
The recent local government elections have provided a clear direction on what citizens need and want.
It is critical that we now focus all our energies on addressing the many service delivery concerns of our people, and also of businesses who rely on the provision of these services to run their operations.
The District Development Model puts local government at the centre of our country’s growth and development.
It is a model aimed at promoting better intergovernmental coordination, planning, budgeting and implementation.
Part of the work we undertook during the pilot phase of the District Development
Model was to develop detailed district profiles, providing an overview of each district.
These profiles covered demographics, socio-economic challenges such as crime, unemployment, poverty and inequality and education levels, and current employment and growth trends.
Most importantly, these profiles identified potential areas for growth with a view to unlocking the potential of each district
It was through this process that we identified the opportunities for investment and development in this area.
The District Development Model calls on government, traditional leaders, investors, donors, civil society, social partners and communities to contribute to a common plan for growth and development.
Today, we are here to take forward the developmental vision of the Eastern Seaboard Development, a flagship District Development Model project.
We will be declaring the Eastern Seaboard area as a region in terms of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act.
The Act is an important tool to achieve spatial transformation by establishing the principles, norms and standards for integrated spatial planning and land use management.
The Eastern Seaboard project is aimed at connecting the villages, towns and cities of the Wild Coast Corridor – which comprises unique ecological zones and tourism routes – with provincial, national and continental economies through transportation infrastructure and information technology.
The development is along a 120 kilometre coastal stretch between Margate and Port St Johns, with supporting gateways between Kokstad and Mbizana.
It is never simply enough to undo the effects of the past; we have to embrace the future.
In this case, we are embracing the future through development that is smart, environmentally sustainable and that embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
We are certain that this development will contribute towards the creation of new regional nodes that will attract investment into the area and create jobs and other opportunities for communities.
Just two months ago, I visited another significant development on this coastline, the N2 Wild Coast Road Project.
On that occasion, I said that government, business and communities need to work together in the cause of development, and that large-scale economic projects must have a real and tangible benefit to local communities.
It has been greatly encouraging to hear from business and potential investors that the benefit to the community is their primary consideration.
Economic development that does not prioritise the needs of the community is unsustainable.
With your support, we will be able to create favourable conditions for growing businesses, for providing a comfortable living environment for families, for developing rural areas and for promoting good governance.
As government, we are working to encourage investment in this region by packaging existing infrastructure project portfolios and presenting a credible project pipeline with the detail needed for investors to make informed investment decisions.
The District Development Model approach will ensure better alignment of government structures to facilitate planning permits and other approvals required for development.
We will do so without cutting corners or compromising on safety and quality.
I am greatly encouraged to see the work that has gone into packaging the Eastern Seaboard Development to potential investors.
As we continue our journey towards economic reconstruction and recovery, developments such as this can help boost the fortunes of our economy and create jobs.
They will also support the overall growth of regions that have suffered from underdevelopment, low growth and under-investment.
I wish to thank all who have been part of making the events of the past two days a success.
It is our collective wish that what has been showcased will inspire confidence and result in the investment that our people seek and our country needs.
I thank you.