KwaZulu-Natal unveils Durban Aerotropolis

12 September 2019

A ground-breaking, 50-year Durban Aerotropolis Master Plan, designed to create an all new and extensive urban environment around King Shaka International Airport, has been unveiled by the Provincial MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs.

MEC, Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube, made details of the Master Plan known at an event at Dube TradePort yesterday to mark the launch of an ultra-modern Durban Aerotropolis Visitor Centre, which features a scale model of the aerotropolis development.

Ms Dube-Ncube said of the Durban Aerotropolis: "This is a purpose-built airport city which aims to enhance urban, regional and national competitiveness and will make KwaZulu-Natal more economically efficient, sustainable and attractive to investment."

The event, attended by the National Deputy Minister of Deputy Minister, Department of Trade and Industry, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Mr Sihle Zikalala, Durban's Mayor, Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, Dube TradePort Corporation Chairperson, Prof Bridgette Gasa, and a number of Chief Executives from both the public and the private sector, who brought to fruition a concept that has been seven years in planning and development.

Set to span one hour's travel time from the airport and covering some 32 000ha of land, Durban Aerotropolis is centred around Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone, which forms the growing heart of the emergent new airport city.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Mr Sihle Zikalala, said of Durban Aerotropolis: "It is poised to take advantage of rapidly increasing global connectivity, efficient Dube TradePort logistics, Durban's seaport, the Special Economic Zone status of the precinct surrounding the airport and the attendant 'Greenfield' status of the development, and positions KwaZulu-Natal as a highly strategic investment and business destination in South Africa."

He added: "Durban Aerotropolis has the potential to both catalyse the social, spatial and economic transformation of KwaZulu-Natal, whilst simultaneously localising the undoubted benefits of global trends through the implementation of a robust, though flexible long-term development framework."

Ms Dube-Ncube said that the Durban Aerotropolis concept had been adopted in 2012, with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial government commissioning a KZN Integrated Aerotropolis Strategy. "This was a collaborative effort involving input from a number of Government and industry stakeholders, and paved the way for the formulation of the Durban Aerotropolis Master Plan, adopted by Provincial Government in 2017," she said.

The primary objective was to drive rapid infrastructural development as a necessary pre-condition to the attraction of significant levels of private sector investment.

With Dube TradePort already regarded as one of South Africa's top 10 investment opportunities, the organisation's Chairperson, Prof Gasa, said: "Durban Aerotropolis is poised to become KwaZulu-Natal's premier development platform for transformation, social cohesion and access to technology, while delivering a sustainable framework for ongoing private and public sector investment opportunities."

‘The carefully orchestrated planning and developmental roll-out of the Durban Aerotropolis concept will most certainly give significant impetus to economic development in this strategically important region of South Africa."

“KwaZulu-Natal has the country's second largest economy in the country and contributes extensively towards national Gross Domestic Product. In addition and with two of Africa's major seaports located on the east coast, this province has the highest export propensity, coupled with the highest level of industrialisation in the country. There can be no question, then, that KwaZulu-Natal is rapidly emerging as a major hub for industrial growth and development, thanks - in no small measure - to its natural resources, marvellous productive capacity, well-developed first-world infrastructure and strategically advantageous coastal position. With the advent now of plans for Durban Aerotropolis, this is a region poised for exceptional economic development going forward, opening the door to the provision of an environment conducive to the full realisation of a fully-inclusive economy, one in which all its communities will be able to derive benefits," she maintained.

Mr Hamish Erskine, CEO Dube TradePort Special Economic noted “Durban Aerotropolis, represents a massive opportunity to expand new infrastructure that has been brought into the region with the development of the airport and Dube TradePort but also to position the region as an investment destination on the world stage. 

The Durban Aerotropolis will have a footprint 32 000ha of land, translating to 42 million square metres of developable property, open to both public and private sector investment, this will be inclusive of green spaces area that amounts to some 10 000ha. The intention is to create an estimated 750 000 employment opportunities over the 50-year master plan implementation horizon. The entire development has the potential to investment valued at some R1 trillion.”