With proper infrastructure, utilities and management, the twenty-six approved industrial parks across South Africa can, in future, become special economic zones (SEZs) that can contribute immensely to the economy of the country and create jobs, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) director-general Lionel October said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the opening of the two-day Industrial Parks Symposium, in Midrand, which serves as a platform for engagement with key stakeholders and experts on the acceleration of the industrial parks as catalysts for developing the rural and township industrial economy.
It offers expert knowledge and experience from speakers and thought leaders on key topics affecting industrial parks.
According to October, with the support of the DTI and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs’ Municipal Infrastructure Grant, all the challenges that have been faced by the parks in the former homeland areas can be resolved, making the parks more productive.
“When we talk about revitalising the industrial parks, we are talking about having proper roads for transportation of goods, proper substations to provide electricity, providing cheaper rentals and avoiding overcharging these businesses operating in the parks.
“If this is done properly, this will lead to lowering the cost of doing business and making our manufacturing sector competitive and sustainable,” said October.
He added that it was up to the administrators to mobilise these resources and secure budgets from municipalities, provincial and national government and turn these pledges into concrete actions to establish world-class facilities.
“We must propose to Cabinet what . . . we want to see out of these parks and eventually they must have the same benefits and support as the SEZs. We can also find a way to fast-track this process so that they too can be managed efficiently and businesses can be clustered together,” he said.