KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala on May 11 launched the R1.5-billion Pepkor Logistics facility, at Keystone Business Park, in Hammarsdale.
Pepkor is a JSE-listed retail chain with more than 5 500 stores.
Zikalala said the facility, which will employ more than 2 200 staff once completed, as a significant show of confidence in the KwaZulu-Natal economy.
“This logistics and supply chain facility is strategically a value-adding investment in the province because it will assist in reducing the congestion at the Port of Durban. The pleasing aspect of this investment is that a private sector company took advantage of the available town planning and spatial development opportunities created by government.
“We are heartened by it as it will contribute to reducing unemployment and poverty in the local and surrounding areas," he said.
Zikalala noted hat the Keystone Business Park would attract over R2-billion in commercial construction and that, when the economic infrastructure expands, it would support the entire value-chain of the economy in Hammarsdale and neighbouring areas.
Further, he said the constraining issue of Durban port congestion and lack of capacity had put a damper in the prospects of attracting major players in retail, textile and agricultural production, adding that the launch of the Pepkor facility was testament to the turnaround of the situation.
“The investments into the new Cato Ridge intermodal hub is a realisation of policy coordination between the local government, provincial government and national government in ensuring that private sector investments of over R50-billion is harnessed.”
Zikalala celebrated the capital formation driven by Pepkor in Keystone Business Park, adding that it should be seen in context of the expert engineering prowess of the public sector in the greater Hammarsdale area, ensuring that travel is improved in the area.
“The road infrastructure upgrades created over 300 jobs for locals where women were prioritised. We are told that about R46.8-million was direct wages that were injected into the community.
"Together with the private sector, we shall continue to drive transformation and employment creation through such infrastructure projects.”
Zikalala said the province was grateful that Pepkor had identified the Keystone Business Park to factor in savings in long-haul costs and implement turnaround times in the movement of stock and goods.
According to the Premier, the Keystone Business Park is fully serviced and platformed land with mainline sewer, municipal water and high-speed telecommunications access.
The Premier said the development was key in complementing the province’s efforts to establish a special economic zone (SEZ) for clothing and textiles. He said the proposed clothing and textile corridor would begin in Newcastle, link up with Ladysmith, Mooi River, Pietermaritzburg, Hammarsdale, Durban, the Dube TradePort and the iSithebe Industrial Park, to the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone.