ONE of the most important tasks for any municipality is the managing of private investment in their area. Private enterprises are a major source of cash and jobs, so encouraging investment should be a high priority. Of course, given the chequered history of Buffalo City Metro (BCM) when it comes to efficient governance, one can’t help but wonder just what the current state of business in the municipality actually is. While it is true that BCM’s economic growth is rather low for a metro, that doesn’t mean BCM doesn’t have opportunities for businesses to take advantage of. “The EL IDZ is without doubt our saviour and has consistently grown to where it is today,” said Les Holbrook, Executive Director of the Border Kei Chamber of Commerce executive director Les Holbrook said .
Thanks to a partnership with Mercedes-Benz South Africa, East London’s manufacturing sector has been given much-needed room to grow. There has also been concerted effort on the part of BCM to diversify the IDF which means more opportunities have been created for other industrial sectors to thrive.
The East London Port is also a massive boon for the metro. The port of East London has helped forge a strong bond between the city and local industries, especially the motor-vehicle industry. The harbour is constantly bustling with cargo ships exporting goods manufactured right here in East London, with this year seeing the arrival of the widest ship to ever dock in the port (Daily Dispatch May 10, “Port welcomes its widest visitor ever”). Of course, just as there are opportunities there are also factors that hinder businesses. For one, says Holbrook: “The city could be doing much more by harnessing this [the port] infrastructure resource.” Poor infrastructure is a familiar complaint to anyone who has travelled along the many crumbling and pot-holed roads. Businesses are less likely to invest in a city if it looks like it is simply going to collapse around them