The revamping of the Botshabelo Industrial Park, which has attracted investments valued at more than R500 million, is envisaged to create 5 000 direct job opportunities.
While employment opportunities are arising in the construction phase, related sectors such as transport, manufacturing and food and beverages will also receive a welcome boost.
The revitalisation programme is being rolled out by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC).
According to Edgar Kgaile, Free State Development Corporation property manager, 108 of the 144 factories in the park are already occupied and operational.
“The revitalisation project has completely changed the image of the park and the perception many businesspeople had about it. We are continuously receiving enquiries from people who want to locate their businesses in the park,” Kgaile said.
“The first two phases of the upgrade have made it attractive to investors. As a result, stakeholders are already in discussion over the third phase, which will boost the electrical capacity of the park in order to meet the growing demand.”
The park’s occupancy rate has increased to 75,5%.
“Since the completion of the first phase, the Botshabelo Industrial Park has welcomed 25 investors and investments to the value of R201 million,” said Kgaile.
To date, 1 360 jobs have been created.
“We have six investors in the pipeline, one of which will invest R300 million for the construction of a steel smelter and employ 2 000 people. The construction of the smelter has already begun.”
According to Kgaile, the Botshabelo Industrial Park will also house a state-of-the-art digital hub valued at R5 million.
The upgrading of the Botshabelo Industrial Park is part of the DTIC’s revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme, which is implemented throughout the country to renovate state-owned industrial parks located in historically disadvantaged areas.
The objectives of the revitalisation programme include promoting industrialisation, attracting investments, increasing the occupancy rate of the parks, driving retention and expansion and addressing inequality.
According to Sipho Zikode, deputy director-general of Spatial Industrial Development and Economic Transformation, the entity has invested R760 million in industrial parks across the country since the revitalisation programme’s inception in 2015.
The first phase of each project focuses on upgrading the security features.
According to Zikode, the first phase of the Botshabelo Industrial Park project was approved for funding of R24 million.
The second phase, which was approved for almost R50 million, started in September last year.
It is expected to be completed by December.