LADY LEADERS DRIVE SOUTH COAST INVESTMENT
“The formation of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE) is an exciting new chapter for the region’s development, as it combines the expertise and resources of two entities for a more unified and effective vision. We are working to market the region’s tourism and investment offerings while eradicating barriers to these along the way,” said the newly formed organisation’s CEO Phelisa Mangcu.
She is one of two women at the helm of an organisation that was officially launched a month ago, bringing together the former Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) and the Ugu South Coast Development Agency (USCDA).
Working alongside Investment and Development Manager, Nkululeko Hlongwane, and a dynamic team, Phelisa said she was steering SCIE, which is now the official economic development arm of the region, towards optimising service delivery, enhancing efficiencies and driving the economy of the KZN South Coast.
A single mother-of-four, Phelisa has brought a wealth of global tourism experience to the KZN South Coast, having worked in the tourism sector in Washington DC in the United States in the early 1990s. In 1999, she returned to South Africa where she took on a position in the tourism unit at IDC (Industrial Development Corporation), before relocating to JHB Tourism.
In 2018, Phelisa made the bold decision to relocate with her four daughters to the KZN South Coast where she relished the opportunity to grow the local tourism and investment offerings. She was appointed the CEO position of (the then) USCT, which allowed her to continue improving the lives of South African citizens and showcasing the beauty of the country to the world.
“This was my first time working in a more rural, coastal setting as I’d only worked in big cities prior to this. I was so warmly welcomed into the community at Shelly Beach and have been astounded at the amazing tourism opportunities that await visitors here. I’m honoured to be in a position to work closely with the local businesses, provincial and national stakeholders to achieve our goals of placing the KZN South Coast on the global map,” said Phelisa.
Working with her team, Phelisa has enjoyed the task of growing tourism in the region by unlocking the potential of the unique tourism offerings – Blue Flag beaches, two world-renowned dive sites, 11 quality golf courses, two iconic gorges, the world’s smallest desert, the Sardine Run and endless nature reserves.
Despite the challenges of Covid-19, floods and riots in KZN, Phelisa’s leadership has resulted in massive rural tourism development, adding to the diversity of experiences found along the KZN South Coast. The Agri-GULTURE Tours, KwaNzimakwe Multi-Trails, Umzumbe River Trail, and the KwaXolo Caves are just some of the unique experiences that drive the local economy in rural areas.
Fellow Shelly Beach resident, Nkululeko Hlongwane, shares this vision as Investment and Development Manager.
Born and raised in the small town of Estcourt in the KZN Midlands, Nkululeko has always been passionate about her home province and sharing its many wonders with the rest of the world. The mother-of-two quickly took to the KZN South Coast when she relocated to the area in 2013.
This passion is backed by a solid educational foundation, having received a Postgraduate Diploma in Local Economic Development from University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Bachelor of Technology in Management, Diploma in Community Extension, an Advanced Certificate in Project Management.
She arrives in her latest role with 16 years of experience across various government and economic development fields. Some of her previous roles were at the Independent Development Trust (IDT), Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), Johannesburg ProductivitySA, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. She’s excited to take on the role of Investment and Development Manager for SCTIE, working with local and international stakeholders in promoting the region.
“As we are recovering from various shocks which affected the economic growth and job creation, my focus will be to ensure that, as the investor destination, we keep existing businesses and jobs in our area, while promoting business expansion and attracting new investment from both domestic and international investors,” said the driven Nkululeko. “We will ensure that the enterprise thrives, effectively becoming a one-stop shop for investment promotion and facilitation for the KZN South Coast through strong public-private partnership.”
Outside of her workplace duties, Nkululeko enjoys reading, travelling with her family, hiking in the region’s beautiful reserves and embarking on some extreme adventure activities!
Both ladies believe that SCTIE will position the KZN South Coast as an accessible, year-round, leisure destination of choice in South Africa with diverse nature and outdoor experiences both on land and in water, a premier beach destination, a value-for-money family destination and the perfect destination for small, intimate meetings and conferences.
Closely aligned with this will be attracting investment to the region across all sectors through pro-active packaging of investment opportunities, linking business and government as well as businesses with various sectors and value chains.
They intend marketing the region as a one-stop-shop for business support, opportunities and information.
Also included on the organisation’s “to do” list is linking emerging businesses with funding opportunity agencies and attracting big businesses to the region either as independent investors or through facilitating partnerships between local corporates, foreign investors and local business.
Speaking at the launch of the new body last month, Dr Sipho Nzimande, chairperson of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise said: “The KZN South Coast is a region of unlimited potential and opportunities, from tourism and agriculture through to film and real estate investments – there is incredible potential to turn this interest into a success. The formulation of the South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise as the official economic development arm will allow us to proactively identify and unlock the full tourism and investment potential of this region.”