Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says four district municipalities: Alfred Nzo, OR Tambo in the Eastern Cape and also Ugu and Harry Gwala in KwaZulu Natal have the potential to change the socio-economic outlook of the two provinces.

Dlamini-Zuma was addressing traditional leaders and business people at an engagement seminar held at Wild Coast Sun in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape.

The inclusive stakeholder engagements accommodate traditional leaders, business and community representatives.

The seminar seeks to connect cities and look at infrastructure development. The introduction of Smart City in the coastline will benefit four districts.

“South Africa has a long coastline and this is part of that coastline. It is a very big economic frontier, but we have not really taken advantage of that. This economic frontier here has not been exploited except for some tourism infrastructure, hotels and so on,” says Dlamini-Zuma.

Wild Coast Business Chamber Chairperson Ayanda Notshweleka says major projects like N2 Highway and Mzimvubu Dam have a positive social-economic impact and will change the lives of the poor.

“This is a great initiative. It unites our people which cuts borders across. It involves everyone from the four districts, which is the area of the South Coast and the Wild Coast. It’s a great initiative which is going rural. It is really touching the most vulnerable, the most needy communities of South Africa,” says Notshweleka.

The District Development Model seeks to fight poverty, unemployment and inequality especially in Alfred Nzo, OR Tambo, Ugu and Harry Gwala municipalities.

Acting Chairperson at the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, Langa Mavuso, says, “It will bring a lot of change to Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo and other districts. As we know, Alfred Nzo is the poorest district in the country. So, the Eastern Seaboard development will bring much change in the entire district and all the coastline from the Buffalo City up to Bizana will benefit communities,” says Mavuso.

Ocean economy, agriculture, tourism and the film industry have been identified as complementary catalysts set to change the economic outlook of the country.

Economic Development and Tourism MEC in KwaZulu-Natal, Ravi Pillay believes this will unite the two provinces.

“We are in a new world – the world of green energy. We are in the world of 4IR, which makes so many things possible. That is why you see the Smart City keeps coming up as a key outcome of this particular initiative. Both two districts in the EC and two districts in KZN are also part of social cohesion,” says Pillay.

Inclusive government programmes will be used as a vehicle to fast-track coastline development plans.