Deputy minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola. Picture: Luigi Bennett
- Deputy minister Fikile Majola said government and the
private sector were embarking on the reconstruction of the Sedibeng region’s
- Majola said government would work to position the Sedibeng to become
leading market for business and investments through the construction of
- The private sector is expected to contribute to the revitalisation of the industrial belt through the special economic zone and
funding for industrial parks.
Deputy minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Fikile
Majola said government has plans for the economic revival of the Sedibeng region
in south Gauteng through a special economic zone to be named the Vaal Sedibeng
Economic Zone (SEZ).
While government has battled to get to grips with interventions
aimed at kickstarting economic growth for the better part of a decade, the
state’s selected special economic zones have been used for business support to
some positive results.
Special economic zones provide businesses with the space to
operate under less government restrictions with added incentives including tax breaks
and access to world class infrastructure and other resources.
Success stories of the special industrial development zone
model include the Coega Industrial Development Zone in Gqeberha, Richards Bay Industrial
Development Zone and the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone.
Speaking at the Sedibeng Investment Conference in
Vanderbijlpark on Friday, Majola said government and the private sector were jointly
embarking on the reconstruction of the Sedibeng region’s economy.
“This will bring opportunities to the millions of residents
across all three (local) municipalities. As the Department of Trade Industry and
Competition, we are fully committed and are behind Gauteng government’s plan to
introduce SEZs where feasible and necessary, to add momentum towards turning
the Gauteng City Region into a single, multi-tier and integrated SEZ,” said
Majola said government would work to position the Sedibeng to
become leading market for business and investments through the construction of
factories and other supporting industrial infrastructure, including the
extension of rail and road infrastructure.
“We must forge ahead with the construction of the new
economy that will offer new opportunities to all our people. Sharing of wealth
and opportunities should be at the top of our agenda,” Majola said.
He said all spheres of government would cooperate to realise
Sedibeng’s economic revitalisation programme and the revival of the industrial
belt through the SEZ and funding for industrial parks.
“The Vaal area has traditionally been South Africa’s heavy
industrial, manufacturing and engineering hub. It remains the iron and steel
industrial hub for Southern Africa, albeit at a sharp decreasing rate. It is
incumbent upon us to prevent the birthplace of South Africa’s industrialisation
from being the rustbelt,” he said.
While Sedibeng is in the country’s richest province, the
local economy of the district known for steel and manufacturing has been stagnant
for years and outflanked by the commerce hub of Johannesburg, the
administrative centre of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni which is home to OR Tambo
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