The DA said it was making the plea in the wake of reports that agri-processing company Tongaat Hulett was in dire financial straits as cheap sugar imports hurt the KZN industry.
It accused the African National Congress-led provincial government of doing little to aid the company and others like it in fully developing its biofuels and alternate energy strategy.
“The DA is aware that Tongaat Hulett has concluded comprehensive studies into crop diversification and the production of biofuels,” the opposition party said. “This will help save jobs and boost the economy.”
It said biofuels and alternative energy sources remained untapped as a means of providing employment, despite more than a quarter of KZN’s residents being unemployed, many of them young people.
“The DA also remains concerned that innovative new industries are paid lip service – but that no real concrete action is taken in realising the economic potential,” it added.
“A classic example is the massive potential to revive the local textile and agri-processing industry through the growing of hemp. The ANC has yet to put the regulatory processes in place to unlock this multibillion-rand industry.”
– African News Agency