The Musina Makhado Special Economic Zone (MMSEZ) on February 1 submitted the final environmental-impact assessment (EIA) application report to the legally designated competent authority, the Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism Department.
The EIA application started in 2018 with a detailed environmental screening study and was followed by a scoping report in 2019.
“The scoping report identified a myriad of specialist studies to be conducted and we are pleased that in our endeavour to comply with the law, protect the environment and positively respond to the concerns raised by the public, we commissioned even more studies beyond the scope demanded by the competent authority.
"We are also pleased that, throughout the EIA application process, consultations with relevant communities and affected and interested parties have been the hallmark of the exercise. Our consultation with communities and other stakeholders was not just an act of compliance with the law but a reflection of our values and principles as a public entity embedded in people-driven and people-centred governance. It is for this reason that a record of over 3 000 comments were received.
"We are delighted that this process has created an opportunity to identify potential blind spots and missing links for the success of the project and the realization of sustainable development,” MMSEZ CEO Lehlohonolo Masoga says.
He notes that the SEZ is committed to sustainable development.
Similarly, it takes into account the reality of the water situation confronting the county and the Limpopo province, in particular, as well as the fact that there are water shortages to support mega-industrial initiatives like the envisaged SEZ.
Accordingly, the MMSEZ as a catalytic initiative, has created a considerable opportunity for the Limpopo government to provide a sustainable long-term solution to the water problem facing the province.
Investigations are under way for the development of a new Musina dam on the confluence of the Limpopo and Sand rivers.
Preliminary outcomes indicate that the initiative is technically sound and commercially viable, says Masoga.
To this effect, the MMSEZ has consummated a partnership with Infrastructure South Africa, which is located in the Presidency, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa to bring the water project to fruition.
“Ultimately, the goal of this pioneering project is the provision of a sustainable water supply not only for the MMSEZ, but for the multitude of residents of Limpopo,” Masoga says.