Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Fikile Majola says government is working "with great speed" towards designating the whole of Sedibeng into a special economic zone (SEZ) to be named the Vaal SEZ.
Majola was speaking at the Sedibeng Investment Conference, hosted in Vanderbijlpark, on October 15.
The objective of the conference was to bring together government leaders, as well as industry and sector players, to deliberate on development initiatives, identify shovel-ready projects and attract investment pledges that will catalyse the building of the Vaal River City and the SEZ.
“Through government’s partnership with the private sector, we are jointly embarking on a journey to reconstruct and reshape the economy of the Sedibeng region. This will bring opportunities to the millions of residents across all three municipalities.
"As the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), we are fully committed and are behind the Gauteng government’s plan to introduce SEZs where feasible and necessary, to add momentum towards turning the Gauteng City Region into a single, multitier and integrated SEZ,” says Majola.
He adds that government is positioning the Sedibeng region as a leading market for business and investments.
”Construction of factories and other supporting industrial infrastructure such as the extension of rail and road infrastructure will also create more jobs for the unemployed.
"We must forge ahead with the construction of the new economy that will offer new opportunities to all our people. Sharing of wealth and opportunities should be at the top of our agenda,” he comments.
He says all spheres of government are working closely on an economic revitalisation programme for the Vaal region linked to the DTIC’s efforts to set up and anchor a revival of the industrial belt in the area through the SEZ and critical infrastructure funding for industrial parks.
“The Vaal area has traditionally been South Africa’s heavy industrial, manufacturing and engineering hub. It remains the iron and steel industrial hub for Southern Africa, albeit at a sharply decreasing rate. It is incumbent upon us to prevent the birthplace of South Africa’s industrialisation from being the rustbelt."