Govt looks to revive stagnant Sedibeng economy through special zone

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Deputy minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola. Picture: Luigi Bennett
Deputy minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola. Picture: Luigi Bennett
  • Deputy minister Fikile Majola said government and the private sector were embarking on the reconstruction of the Sedibeng region's economy.
  • Majola said government would work to position the Sedibeng to become leading market for business and investments through the construction of factories.
  • The private sector is expected to contribute to the revitalisation of the industrial belt through the special economic zone and funding for industrial parks.



Deputy minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Fikile Majola said government has plans for the economic revival of the Sedibeng region in south Gauteng through a special economic zone to be named the Vaal Sedibeng Economic Zone (SEZ).

While government has battled to get to grips with interventions aimed at kickstarting economic growth for the better part of a decade, the state's selected special economic zones have been used for business support to some positive results.

Special economic zones provide businesses with the space to operate under less government restrictions with added incentives including tax breaks and access to world class infrastructure and other resources.

Success stories of the special industrial development zone model include the Coega Industrial Development Zone in Gqeberha, Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone and the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone.

Speaking at the Sedibeng Investment Conference in Vanderbijlpark on Friday, Majola said government and the private sector were jointly embarking on the reconstruction of the Sedibeng region's economy.

"This will bring opportunities to the millions of residents across all three (local) municipalities. As the Department of Trade Industry and Competition, we are fully committed and are behind Gauteng government's plan to introduce SEZs where feasible and necessary, to add momentum towards turning the Gauteng City Region into a single, multi-tier and integrated SEZ," said Majola.

Majola said government would work to position the Sedibeng to become leading market for business and investments through the construction of factories and other supporting industrial infrastructure, including the extension of rail and road infrastructure.

"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," Majola said.

He said all spheres of government would cooperate to realise Sedibeng's economic revitalisation programme and the revival of the industrial belt through the SEZ and 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 sharp decreasing rate. It is incumbent upon us to prevent the birthplace of South Africa's industrialisation from being the rustbelt," he said.

While Sedibeng is in the country's richest province, the local economy of the district known for steel and manufacturing has been stagnant for years and outflanked by the commerce hub of Johannesburg, the administrative centre of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni which is home to OR Tambo International Airport.

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