An artist’s impression of the Ballito Hills development currently being built by Balwin Properties, between the Junction shopping centre and Simbithi estate.
Long term development plans for the North Coast unveiled on Friday have provided a welcome jolt of confidence to local developers and business people. About 60 Ilembe Chamber of Commerce members were encouraged by presentations by Tongaat Hulett Developments, the Collins Group, Royal Shaka property group, Balwin property developers and Dube Tradeport, who spelled out some of their long term plans.
Between them, the developers will be investing billions of rands over the next 20 or so years in projects ranging from residential to light industry and agriculture. However, developers were of one voice in agreeing electricity supply and road infrastructure were challenges and that local government would have to up its game if the future is to be as rosy as envisaged. As the largest landowner on the coast, Tongaat Hulett Developments is planning investments worth R6Obn which will create 380 000 construction and 50 000 permanent jobs.
THD executive Hlalelo Makwabe said 225 hectares had been earmarked on Compensation Flats for mixed-use development which includes light industrial, business park and residential aspects. Environmental approvals were currently being sought.
Large scale residential developments are being planned for both the south and north banks of the Umhlali River at Tinley Manor. Some 250 hectares between Christmas Bay and the river is earmarked for mixed residential and commercial use. Makwabe said they were working on attracting foreign investors in the tourism sector, such as Club Med. The other development would be behind the current ski boat club site on the north of the village in Tinley Manor, where some 50 villas were planned. TDH was also working on interesting international resort operators in this scheme.
“The value of these investments of over 488 hectares in the Ilembe region exceed R2Obn and will create 28 000 construction and 10 500 permanent jobs,” he said.
Geoff Perkins of the Collins Group and Nhlangno ‘Sugar’ Sokhela of Royal Shaka Property Group together outlined plans for the development of the defunct Seaton Delaval land behind Sheffield, which they have bought, and Addington Estate which is the coastal strip from the north side of Tinley Manor to the Umvoti River. The Collins Group is currently developing the Zululami residential development at Sheffield.
BIG PLANS FOR COASTAL BELT
“Altogether we have put together 5 000 hectares, which are a blank canvas with amazing development potential,” said Sokhela. “Every concept we are bringing will be bankable”.
Dube Tradeport CEO Hamish Erskine outlined plans for the expansion and addition of four zones to the existing tradeport alongside King Shaka airport: business and hospitality, industrial and manufacturing, agriculture and cargo handling.
One developer said from the floor: “Our biggest problem is the non-performance of KDM. We all know that there are major investors who refuse to invest further in the region because of this.”
In response mayor, Ricardo Mthembu appealed to the meeting not to lose hope in the future.
“I am open for any engagement, so let us come together and discuss our problems. I don’t mind boxing and then we can reach an agreement.
“What is needed is for us to put our heads together.”
Mthembu also stressed the need to protect the sugar industry and to have a clear understanding of the meaning of land expropriation without compensation.
Chamber CEO Cobus Oelofse said, to applause, that the Ilembe Chamber would contribute to a comprehensive plan of development potential to present to KDM and work with the council to establish forums that serve both developers and municipal officials.