KZN 'an investment magnet'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

KwaZulu-Natal has moved to the "forefront as an investment destination".

This was said by Premier Sbu Ndebele during his office's budget speech vote yesterday.

Ndebele said the province had made great strides in fighting unemployment, so much so that the latest statistics had revealed a decline of four percent, compared to three years ago.

He said the decrease in unemployment had contributed meaningfully to the booming economy.

"As a result, KwaZulu-Natal now ranks second as a major contributor to the economy, accounting for 16,7percent of South Africa's gross domestic product," he said.

According to the most recent Labour Force Survey data, KwaZulu-Natal was one of two provinces that had shown the biggest decline in unemployment.

"Our unemployment rate in the province has dropped from 33percent in 2004 to 29percent in 2007," said Ndebele.

He also hailed the province's Masifundisane programme, saying it had already seen more than 8000 people graduating.

"In 2005 we said in the state of the province address that there were more than two million people who could not read, write or count.

"As a response, the Masifundi- sane programme, which we run in conjunction with the department of education, has already produced more than 8000 graduates," Ndebele said.

"During our visit to Spain earlier this year, we discussed province-to-province cooperation in agriculture and tourism. We also held meetings with the national coach and the football association.

"We believe this has put us in a good position for a specific provincial role in relation to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

"A more vigorous programme with other countries will continue to unfold."