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Economic zones to boost Limpopo economy

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Great and long-lasting impact on the growth of the economy of the province is envisaged to be the result of two special economic zones (SEZs) to be established by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in Limpopo.
Maoto Molefane, acting Chief Director SEZs at the department made this announcement on Friday during a media seminar held to inform local journalists about its flagship SEZ and Black Industrialists programmes. The programmes are aimed at adding new impetus to the growth and transformation of the economy of South Africa.
SEZs are geographic areas of a country or region designated for targeted economic activities, which are supported by government through special measures. They are an important tool to support the country’s long-term industrialisation objectives and the development of new industrial capabilities. The development of SEZs is primarily aimed at increasing the flow of domestic and foreign direct investment and to increase the export of value-added commodities.
Molefane said of the ten SEZs that are proposed for establishment in various parts of the country, two will be situated in Limpopo, one in Musina and the other in Tubatse.
“The SEZ in Musina will be a logistics hub for which we have already received an investment pipeline of more than R36 billion to establish a number of projects. These include a steel plant, coking coal plant and a power station. The SEZ in Tubatse will focus on platinum group metals beneficiation and also the manufacturing of goods that are utilised in the mining industry there,” Molefane said.
He added that the zones will have a major positive impact on the economy of Limpopo in general and the Vhembe and Sekhukhune district municipalities in particular. The zones will unlock other opportunities that exist in the areas where they are located. Although the focus of the zones is on manufacturing, other sectors of the economy will be consequently revitalised due to the various needs of the companies located in the zones and the high number of people who will be employed in the zones.
“These areas will be completely transformed into major economic hubs characterised by a hive of activity. The zones will provide opportunities for the establishment of schools, colleges, private hospitals as well as the development of infrastructure and human settlements. Above all, the zones will go a long way in addressing the problem of unemployment and eradication of poverty where they will be located and in the surrounding areas. All of this will result in Limpopo’s contribution to the economy of the country increasing significantly and a huge improvement in the quality of lives of the people who will be benefitting from the economic activities associated with the zones,” Molefane remarked.
The department is reportedly working with all stakeholders, including local communities, private sector, provincial and local government and other national departments to ensure the successful implementation of the SEZ programme in Limpopo.

Story: Herbert Rachuene
>>herbert@mailbox.co.za