Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has approved a recommendation that the Nkomazi Special Economic Zone (SEZ), in Mpumalanga, be designated and has called on the public and interested parties to comment on the proposed designation by June 28.
The application for the designation of the Nkomazi SEZ was submitted by the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development and Tourism through the Mpumalanga Growth and Economic Agency.
This followed after the SEZ advisory board was satisfied with the rationale and scale of potential economic opportunities in the region and recommended to Davies that he designate the proposed area and grant an SEZ licence to the Provincial Department of Economic Development and Tourism.
The proposed SEZ, in the Ehlanzeni region, is expected to boost economic activities.
“Linked to Swaziland by two provincial roads and to Mozambique by a railway line and the N4 national road, the designation of the proposed Nkomazi SEZ will provide a much-needed opportunity for the Ehlanzeni region and Mpumalanga province to attract foreign and domestic direct investments which will lead to ‘high impact’ industrial development along the Maputo Corridor,” Davies said.
According to Davies, the Nkomazi SEZ will also promote skills development.
“The designation of Nkomazi SEZ will not only give the Mpumalanga province an opportunity to process agricultural produce (which the province currently exports as primary produce) but will also enable skills and technology transfer, which are key to the improvement of agricultural productivity and creation of much-needed jobs in Mpumalanga and particularly the Ehlanzeni region,” he added.
The Nkomazi SEZ is to be initially established on a 300 ha area that has been made available by the Nkomazi local municipality and will mainly focus on the secondary and tertiary processing of agricultural products.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will, within 30 days, arrange a public hearing in the Nkomazi area to allow the community to provide further inputs on the proposed development.
The DTI’s latest yearly iteration of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap), which was published last week, shows that there are already eight designated SEZs in the country – one in the Western Cape, two in KwaZulu-Natal, two in the Eastern Cape, one in Gauteng, one in Limpopo and one in the Free State.
The Ipap for 2018/19 to 2020/21 states that the number of operational investors in designated SEZs has also increased to 85, with a total investment value of more than R9-billion.