President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO: GCIS

GOVERNMENT plans to use its new district development model as an outline for a significant new development zone on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast, says president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The development zone, which will stretch for 120km between Margate and Port St Johns, will be given special status under the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, Ramaphosa said in an address this weekend.

“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.”

Ramaphosa said that the development is expected to contribute to creating new ‘regional nodes’ that will attract investment into the area and create jobs and other opportunities for communities.

He added that the government was encouraging investment in the 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 a better alignment of government structures to facilitate planning permits and other approvals required for development,” he said.

“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.”

Ramaphosa added that government sees these developments as the key towards South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery and are expected to help boost the economy and create jobs.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said that the new development would also include a post-apartheid smart city – although he did not specify where exactly the project will be developed on the 120km coastline.

Speaking at the launch event on Friday (12 November), Zikalala said the coastal city would help reduce unemployment in the area, promote tourism and help reverse some of the semigration from the area, which had seen more people leave to the country’s larger cities.

The minister said that the new city would also address ‘apartheid spatial planning’, which many of the country’s major cities developed along racial lines.

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