(Published in BUSINESS DAY, 09/10/15)
The once bustling textile and clothing manufacturing town of Hammarsdale, west of Durban, has been thrown a lifeline, giving hope to its legion of the unemployed.
The town is to be the home of Keystone Industrial Park, to be built at an estimated cost of R6bn. The complex will be situated adjacent the Hammarsdale industrial node, which host Rainbow Chicken and other smaller businesses. It will be located along the N3 freeway that forms part of the country’s Strategic Integrated Project, one of the government’s national priority projects.
The precinct also serves a logistics and industrial corridor between Durban and Gauteng. Mr Price, among SA’s biggest clothing and homeware retailers, is the first firm to lay foundations in the park, with the building of a R1bn central distribution centre. Rod Stainton, a project manager and a shareholder at Keystone Park, the company behind the development, said: “Mr Price is busy putting a roof onto the building and we are starting with the construction of two buildings.”
The park is expected to be fully operational in October next year. KwaZulu- Natal economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu said the Keystone Industrial Park would change the face of Hammarsdale and bring it back to its former glory. He was speaking earlier this week at the launch of Reatile Gaz gas plant situated a few kilometres from the park. Reatile Gaz, a Johannesburg based energy and chemical firm open its fifth liquid petroleum gas plant on Wednesday. The plant will handle 45,000L of gas and was built at a cost of R30m.
“We are grateful that the Reatile Gaz plant comes hot on the heels of the Keystone development, Mr Mabuyakhulu said. “This means that government has given attention to the development of industrial parks in the province. This will certainly bring development to the people of the area.” Mr Stainton said Keystone was positioned in a strategical corridor and along the country’s biggest nation road. The N3 is a strategical artery for all goods moving in and out of the country.
“We targeted the logistics market and we want them to be as close to Durban as possible but not in the congested part of the city.”
Mr Stainton said that Keystone Park would create a massive labour pool in the area with hundreds of jobs expected.