eThekwini's plan to regenerate inner city

Artists view of eThekwini’s plan to regenerate the inner city – image supplied by Durban Point Development Company

Durban’s bold plan to be Africa’s most liveable city by 2030

The revitalisation of Durban’s Point Waterfront is at the heart of eThekwini Municipality’s radical initiative to redevelop and regenerate the inner city.

eThekwini's plan to regenerate inner city

Artists view of eThekwini’s plan to regenerate the inner city – image supplied by Durban Point Development Company

Durban Point Waterfront has long been identified as critical to both the retention and growth of Durban’s very important tourism industry. 

eThekwini Municipality in partnership with the Durban Point Development Company, whose parent company is the Malaysian-based ROC Point (Pty) Ltd, are revitalising the Waterfront through a R35 billion investment located on the South Point of the central beachfront.

The Point Waterfront upgrade is the flagship project among other interventions on the cards for eThekwini, including the Cornubia Development, Dube TradePort upgrade, the Ntshongweni, and the Dumisani Makhaye Node (Westrich Mall) Development.

The Point project will include several mixed-use developments, including upmarket residential and commercial developments, a retail mall, a hotel and leisure facilities. This will be undertaken in three phases over 10-15 years.

“This initiative must be seen in the context of a city-wide development process, indicating that Durban is on the brink of change, that there is significant interest in the revitalisation of the CBD and the Point Precinct,” explains Nasreen Arabi, senior programme manager in the Catalytic Projects Unit at eThekwini Municipality.

Critical projects

The city has committed to upgrading the bulk infrastructure watermain as well as public spaces to support future development.

The Promenade extension, completed in November 2019, marked phase one of the Point Waterfront Development. At a cost of around R300 million, the Promenade was extended by 750m.

This was followed by the upgrade of Point Watermain which got underway in February 2020. Expected to create numerous job opportunities, the R190 million project is planned for completion in June 2021.

Included in these plans are public realm upgrades aimed improving pedestrian connectivity and the urban environment to ensure user experiences are enhanced and aligned with the Inner-City Regeneration Strategy. 

Uplifting the city

“Although the economic factor is the main driver of the Point Precinct project due to the anticipated increase in rates revenue and private investment, there is also a substantial benefit to the municipality by the anticipated jobs to be generated from this development in terms of construction and increasing tourism in the city,” explains Arabi.

A socio-economic assessment of the new proposals concluded, Arabi says, that “there is no doubt that the proposed development plan will yield a range of measurable positive impacts, in the immediate area of the development, in the CBD, in respect of job creation, rates revenue as a contribution to the overall quality of the City of Durban.”

Approximately 11 000 construction phase jobs are likely to be created per annum during the Point Precinct project, as well as 6 750 permanent jobs.

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Local existing property values are likely to increase by some 10% while central Durban property values are likely to increase by 5%. 

Rates revenues of approximately R200 million per annum are expected to be generated for eThekwini Municipality, along with an anticipated GDP/GVA contribution of around R700 million once the development is completed.

Portfolio of projects

Other projects part of the portfolio include the pioneering Cornubia Development, the Dube TradePort, the Ntshongweni Development, and the Dumisani Makhaye Node (Westrich Mall) Development.

These interventions expected to “change the landscape of the city and create a true global destination that will be a gateway into the African content,” Arabi says.

It’s all part of the Durban’s plan to be Africa’s most ‘caring and liveable city by 2030,’ and driven under the umbrella of an inclusive economic growth plan called ‘Shape Durban.’

Artist impressions of Durban Point Waterfront upgrade. (Image Durban Point Development Company)

The municipality has also appointed ‘Team Durban’ to provide strategic foreign direct investment advice and support to the city by acting as a sounding board for council leadership and the new Invest Durban Unit on business and investment promotion matters.

The plan aims to facilitate sustainable investment in Durban through the expansion, retention and aftercare of the existing multinational investors as well as targeted attractions for significant new foreign direct investment.

Catalytic projects

Council believes major projects will yield the City massive growth over the next few years which will create investment and employment opportunities. 

“These projects are expected to have a huge economic and social impact that will be measured by the number of jobs created and how they support mixed-use development by integrating commercial and housing needs,” says Arabi.

Importantly, the City says, growth opportunities over the next 20 years will focus on capitalising on the role of the port, international airport and modern rail, road, infrastructure, information and communication technologies. 

This includes promoting the city as a centre for trade between Africa and the world, as well as promoting the city as the best location for manufacturing activities.


The R25 billion Cornubia Development is regarded as a landmark intervention to establish the first fully integrated human settlement in the country.

The multimillion-rand mixed-use project has the potential to yield 28 000 units and is transforming the physical and social landscape of the city. The developers have integrated a public transport system that will serve the entire development.

The development is being constructed in phases over a 20-year period covering 1 300 ha and includes industrial, commercial and retail development.

When complete, the area will create an estimated 48 000 permanent retail and industrial jobs. A 100 000 m² logistics park is to be developed at the N2 Business Estate located on the northern edge of Cornubia.

Once completed, the estate could create 2 400 permanent jobs and generate R45 million a year in rates income for the City.

Dube TradePort

This 2 840 ha development near King Shaka International Airport will become an airfreight hub comprising a Cargo Terminal, Trade, Agri and Support Zones. To date, Dube TradePort said it’s secured R3.2 billion in private sector investment.

Growth opportunities will capitalise on the role of the Dube Trade Port and other transport infrastructure – (Image Dube Trade Port)

With a great deal of development completed and more currently under way, current projections point to the expanded zone attracting in excess of R10 billion in private sector investment in coming years. The TradePort will eventually provide 150 000 permanent jobs with a total annual rate contribution of R180 million.

Centrum site

The development of the Durban Centrum entails a mixed-use precinct of Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) bus stations, a new super basement parking garage with public service buildings, integrated with high-density residential, hotel, retail and commercial development.

The 28 ha site comprises the largest single area of the central city and offers the potential for comprehensive redevelopment. The site will complement the adjoining central business district while trying to preserve the city’s historic buildings and heritage.

The project is projected to provide 3 350 construction and 1 350 permanent jobs, with an annual rates contribution of R67 million. The investment value of the development is estimated at R4 billion, to be developed over eight years starting in 2020/21.

GO! Durban

eThekwini’s IRPTN, dubbed GO! Durban, is the biggest infrastructure project the city has ever undertaken. Set to revolutionise public transport in the city, GO! Durban integrates several different modes of transport and innovations. 

Artist impression eThekwini’s IRPTN, GO! Durban terminal – Durban Point Development Company

By 2030, the new transport network will have eight dedicated bus lane routes and one rail route, which will link eThekwini Municipality from north to south and east to west, with the first route nearing completion.

The R280 million interchange to link the Cornubia Development and the uMhlanga Precinct also forms part of the project.

Durban Film City

With a projected capital cost of more than R7.5 billion, Durban Film City is a landmark project for the city. 

Located on the beachfront, the development is set to change the face of Durban, its tourism offering and local lifestyle to world-class standards by integrating film studios and related film industry elements with tourism, lifestyle and entertainment components, thereby creating a must-see, must-do attraction for Durban.

Dumisani Makhaye

The Dumisani Makhaye Node (Westrich Mall) Development (Midway Crossing) is strategically located on the city’s C3 IPTN Corridor connecting Bridge City to Pinetown CBD.

The project will benefit the communities of Lindelani, KwaMashu and Newlands West. It entails the commercial development of a shopping centre, which will be integrated with the GO! Durban feeder facility, safety and security centre, Sizakala Centre, Municipal Services Centre and Newlands Expressway.

Dumisani Makhaye is a public-private partnership, with a total investment value of R750 million, of which the City said it contributed roughly R340 million towards the provision of the bulk infrastructure.

Vision 2030

The projects, together with several other key infrastructure investments are expected to change the landscape of the city and create a true global destination that will be a gateway to the African content. 

The aim is to create significant socio-economic benefits to ensure that eThekwini becomes a truly world-class city by 2030.