Despite the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on South Africa’s economy, Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina says the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Programme continues to “successfully drive industrialisation” of the country.
She explains that the programme has managed to attract a significant number of investors, thereby increasing the value of operational investments from R17.7-billion by the end of the third quarter of the 2019/20 financial year, to R19.5-billion by the end of the same period of the 2020/21 financial year.
“This is a positive increase of R1.8-billion. During the same period, the number of investments have increased from 129 to 143,” says Gina.
Forming part of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan, she says South Africa is using SEZs to reignite manufacturing-led industrialisation in an accelerated manner.
Further, Gina notes that although the SEZ Programme is relatively new in South Africa (having started in 2014), it has and continues to attract a significant number and value of investments in various regions.
“The rapid growth of SEZs such as Coega, East London, Dube TradePort and Tshwane Automotive, continue to demonstrate the significant role played by SEZ Programme in the country.”
The purpose of the SEZ Programme is to attract foreign and domestic investments, increase the number and value of exported products, accelerate the development of industrial infrastructure, help accelerate the beneficiation of South Africa’s resource endowments and create decent jobs, she explains.
During the 2020/21 financial year, through the SEZ Programme, the Tshwane Automotive SEZ completed the construction of 12 factories with the private investment value of R4.33-billion, with the expectation that more than 2 000 jobs will be created.
The Dube TradePort, during the period, secured new investments worth about R600-million, which is expected to create 841 jobs.
Also, during the period, Coega signed four new investors worth about R49-million that is expected to create about 101 jobs.
Saldanha Bay, meanwhile, is busy completing the construction of two manufacturing facilities with an investment value of R380-million and the expectation of about 90 direct jobs.
The Richards Bay SEZ is completing the construction of an edible oil factory and titanium dioxide factory, with a combined private investment value of R5.8-billion. About 600 direct jobs are expected to be created there.
In addition, the East London Industrial Development Zone, during the period, completed the construction of nine investor facilities and the expansion of three existing facilities. These facilities will create an additional 1 534 manufacturing and services jobs and these will be operationalised within the next two years.
Further, Gina says the number and value of operational investments are expected to increase by almost R10-billion during the current financial year as a result of investments that are currently under construction.