KZN South Coast’s manufacturing sector holds unlimited opportunities for investment

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“KwaZulu-Natal’s manufacturing sector enjoys a significant share of the South African economy and is the second largest in the country with nearly a third of manufactured exports being produced here.” – Trade & Investment KZN

The disruptions to the global supply chain in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown measures highlighted the need for companies to diversify their sources of supply. This is good news for manufacturers on the KZN South Coast as the industry is poised for growth, with national investments in port upgrades making locally manufactured products more accessible to the domestic and global markets.   

“We have identified manufacturing as a key growth sector on the KZN South Coast, with several sub-sectors now primed for investment,” explained Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE), the official economic development arm of the KZN South Coast. “Alongside the need for diversifying product sources, the regional manufacturing sector is further supported by the Eastern Seaboard Development, a project that aims to strengthen economic linkages between provinces, as well as The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) that will open us up to the continental market.”

Manufacturing investment opportunities

1.       Furnishers

The skilled, local craftsmanship and direct accessibility to timber result in quality-made furniture products along the KZN South Coast. One example is Out of Wood, a 100% black-owned furniture production business with 13 full-time employees producing customized wooden furniture that is supplied to local furnishers. The team works with solid timber sourced locally from Surejoy Industries in Harding under the Umuziwabantu Municipality, crafted using three-phased machinery. SCTIE has identified a gap in the value chain with an opportunity for transportation to increase capacity and connect Out of Wood with the Gauteng market (where there is existing demand) and beyond.

2.       Timber

With an abundance of timber farms in the Harding region, the manufacture of wooden products boasts a wealth of investment opportunities. Surejoy Industries, a family-owned organisation consisting of 2 300-hectares of timber plantations and a mill, manufactures purlins, rafters, CCA-treated poles, and other wooden products. A complement of around 240 full-time employees produces a range of wooden products supplying manufacturers of hardware and furniture, with a storage depot in Marburg.

As it currently stands, there is no workshop in the region that can attend to the sharpening of saw blades – a vital component of the timber industry. SCTIE has noted the potential for investors to establish such a workshop, meeting market demand in a well-established timber farming area. Existing furniture stores and timber retailers are also encouraged to visit the KZN South Coast to source raw materials as the destination is a regular supplier of timber.

3.       Cut, Make, Trim (CMT) Manufacturing

The textiles industry has a lot of investment potential, with cut, make, and trim manufacturing a way for those in fashion to transform their vision into complete products, ready for market. On the KZN South Coast, Cengemajita Fashion & Entertainment has been identified as an emerging CMT manufacturer, with significant investment opportunities. This 100% black-owned company, with 12 full-time employees, was established in 2009, securing machinery in 2016 and gaining ground until Covid-19 hit. They resuscitated the company in 2022, securing school uniform orders, with the aim to establish a shop in the South Coast Mall.

“As with all businesses in South Africa, load shedding remains one of the biggest challenges to productivity, making investments in renewable energies a priority,” continued Phelisa. “We welcome the president’s recent announcement regarding renewable energy incentives for businesses and individuals, and look forward to the growth of this sector on the KZN South Coast.” Extending from Port Shepstone, the area’s economic hub, throughout the KZN South Coast, there are so many investment opportunities. To find out more about these, get in touch with SCTIE, the KZN South Coast’s One-Stop Shop for investment. Contact SCTIE on 039 682 7944, email or visit