The Botshabelo Industrial Park, in the Free State, has attracted investments valued at more than R500-million owing to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s (DTIC’s) revitalisation programme that is being rolled out.
Upgrading the park forms part of the DTIC’s Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme, which is being implemented throughout the country to renovate State-owned industrial parks located in historically disadvantaged areas.
The objectives of the revitalisation programme include promoting industrialisation, attracting investments, increasing the parks’ occupancy rate, driving retention and expansion and addressing inequality.
DTIC spatial industrial development and economic transformation deputy director-general Sipho Zikode said on October 26 that the department had invested R760-million in industrial parks across the country through the programme since its inception in 2015.
The revitalisation is implemented in phases, with the first phase focusing on upgrading security features. Phase 1 of the Botshabelo Industrial park was approved for R24-million and was the first industrial park to reach completion.
The second phase was approved for almost R50-million and construction started in September 2019 and is expected to be completed in December this year.
Since the completion of Phase 1 of the revitalisation, the Botshabelo Industrial Park has welcomed 25 investors, who invested R201-million, and the number of jobs created is 1 360.
Another six investors are in the pipeline, one of which is Hangda Trading, which will be investing R300-million in construction of a steel smelter and employ 2 000 people.
The construction of the smelter has already begun, said Free State Development Corporation property manager Edgar Kgaile, who added that the park’s occupancy had increased to 75.5% as a result of the upgrade’s positive impact.
The revitalisation programme is envisaged to create more than 5 000 direct job opportunities, as well as other indirect job opportunities in related areas such as transport, food and beverages, manufacturing and the construction industry.
The Botshabelo Industrial Park will also house a state-of-the-art digital hub that has been funded to the tune of R5-million by the Small Enterprise Development Agency, which is currently hosting activations and boot camps in Thaba Nchu, Botshabelo and Bloemfontein to create awareness about the digital hub and to identify young people who will receive training at the hub as part of developing entrepreneurs in innovation to equip them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.