The project aims to build inclusive economies in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Four District Municipalities and 17 local municipalities along the 600-kilometre eastern coastline stand to benefit from the project. These include Ugu and Harry Gwala in KwaZulu Natal as well as Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo District in the Eastern Cape.
Alfred Nzo District Municipality is one of the poorest regions in the Eastern Cape. The establishment of a Smart City is one of their best options in fighting poverty. While the rollout of the project has begun, the government says there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says there are a lot of steps that still need to be taken.
“The Eastern Seaboard Development has still got a lot of steps to be taken. We need to make sure the consultation is complete because sometimes good ideas get killed by lack of consultation so that’s why we undertook to do extensive consultation.”
Alfred Nzo District Municipality Mayor, Vukile Mhlelembana says the government is working with traditional leaders on a daily basis.
“We are working very well with traditional leaders on a daily basis including in council and other programs and they are very important stakeholders, we know our region is rural, even those places your urban, they are not necessarily urban. In places like these, you need to be careful and work with traditional leaders.”
Minister Dlamini-Zuma says stable and well-run municipalities are key to attracting investors.
“Here in Alfred Nzo in particular, we are very happy because their financial management is good, they have unqualified audits which means it will give confidence even to the investors that financially the district is handling finances well.”
Agriculture, tourism, and the ocean economy are some of the industries that have been identified to drive development.
EC government departments hold public engagements regarding the development of the Eastern Seaboard: