Nine Chinese companies have committed to investing more than $10 billion in Limpopo’s Musina/Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ), said the Department of Trade and Industry.
According to a press release issued by the South African Government News Agency, this happened as the Limpopo Economic Development Agency (LEDA) signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Chinese companies at a ceremony in Beijing last Friday and Saturday.
Group chief executive officer (CEO) of LEDA Ben Mphahlele expressed his delight at the signing of the MoUs and MoA, adding that this would add to the growth of the provincial SEZ. “We are delighted that the value of investment commitments in the Musina/Makhado SEZ continues to grow at an impressive rate. There are four projects in the SEZ, namely the power plant, coking plant, alloy factory and steel manufacturing. Today we managed to confirm investment commitments in all of them,” said Mphahlele.
The brainchild of the Department of Trade and Industry, SEZs are geographically designated areas of the country that are set aside for specifically targeted economic activities. LEDA said the SEZ was generating a significant amount of interest among potential investors. In the past, the Zoutpansberger has reported on the proposed SEZ on numerous occasions. It will be located on an 8000ha piece of restituted land near Mopane. The area stretches from the railway line in the west to the N1 in the east, between the Huntleigh turn-off in the south and the Mopane turn-off in the north.
The signing ceremony, said Mphahlele, will be followed by due diligence as technical representatives of the companies will visit the SEZ to do various assessments on the ground before implementing their plans. “As we speak, there is a Chinese company that is conducting a feasibility study. We are looking forward to seeing the SEZ getting off the ground and beginning to change the economic landscape of Musina and Makhado by creating business and employment opportunities for the people of the Vhembe District.”
He described the development of the SEZ as a game changer and expressed confidence that the positive impact of the SEZ will extend to other parts of Limpopo and other African countries, such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
South Africa currently has a total of eight SEZs, namely: Coega and East London IDZs in the Eastern Cape, Dube Trade Port and Richards Bay IDZs in KwaZulu-Natal, OR Tambo IDZ in Gauteng, Saldanha Bay IDZ in the Western Cape, Maluti-a-Phofung IDZ in the Free State, and Musina/Makhado SEZ in Limpopo.
Meanwhile, the head of department at the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in Limpopo, Solly Kgopong, said the signing ceremony was a major milestone in the development of the SEZ. “We are happy that we will be returning home with concrete commitments in the form of MOUs, but one of the reasons for coming here was to confirm the readiness of the Chinese companies to invest in the project.
“We have been impressed by what we saw and heard during our interaction with the companies. They are ready and eager to come to South Africa and start working. The entire province, including the communities and businesses, is behind this project,” said Kgopong.
Date:01 June 2018 - By: Andries van Zyl
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.