Babelegi Industrial has potential - Makhura

2015-07-13 20:16
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Government is looking at plans to revitilise Babelegi Industrial Park in Hammanskraal in a bid to revive the area’s economy.

"Today we are not here for a long visit. Our primary objective is [to see] what can we do to activate this area. Our new economy for Hammanskraal should be anchored in Babelegi," said Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

"We are interested in the industrial parks in and near our townships to ensure they operate and contribute to the success of township economy."

Makhura and Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa led a delegation to the area to asses progress in delivering government services to the people. The team visited the area of Babelegi to witness the state of factories and to assess the intervention needed from government. 

"For us there is a future here, we think we can take it to a different level than where it currently is. We are also interested in how supporting township small business can link them with the big ones that are here," said Makhura.

The premier heard of how the closure of factories had resulted in thousands of people losing their jobs. At the height of operations, the factories employed at least 25 000 people, but currently only 6 000 are employed.

The area housed factories that predominately focused on furniture and textile manufacturing. It has the capacity to accommodate 191 factories, but currently only 124 spaces are occupied.

The team was also informed of how investors were shying away from the area due to the unstable electricity supply. General manager of the North West Development Corporation, Mike Mthimunye, said companies could not afford the deposit required by Eskom to provide electricity.

"A company left here after refurbishing one of the factories because they could not afford the R1m deposit required. Others leave because the buildings are too old," he said.

Ramokgopa said government had to think out of the box to lure investors to the area. He said one method could be to offer rebates to potential investors.

"We can look at giving those investors, who are willing to refurbish the buildings, a grace period where they don't have to pay rates and taxes for a period of time. That would be the equivalent of the money they used," said Ramokgopa.

He added that another way to mitigate the power problems would be to install solar panels on the roofs to reduce reliance on the grid and to have back up power.

Among the factories still operating in the area are Nestle, Sammca Tiles, Maggie Noodles and Unica Iron and Steel.

Read more on:    kgosientso ramokgopa  |  david makhura  |  johannesburg

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