Posted: April 20, 2023
DDG Maria Nonyana-Mokabane.
DDG Yunus Hoosen.
DDG Susan Mangole.
DDG from National Treasury, Ms Malijeng Ngqaleni.
CSIR, Dr Sandile Malinga.
GIZ NatuRES, Dr Faith Lawrence.
GIZ South Africa, Thomas Schaef NCPC-SA, Mr Bernad Oerllaman.
Accenture, Gugu Nyanda
Ilembe Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Mr Cobus Oelofse.
COSATU, Tony Ehrenreich.
All honoured guests.
Ladies and gentlemen.
I am excited to open this all-important National Summit on Industrial Parks in South Africa. I am particularly drawn into the theme that the Department chose which in my view captures the essence of what we want to steer Industrial Parks towards – which is to position Industrial Parks as engines for growth, industrialisation and investment within the context of the reimagined national implementation framework.
Industrial Parks possesses huge potential that requires unlocking so that they become the strategic nodal points for differentiated economic activities, even in the hinterland of our country.
This Summit must succeed in achieving the overarching aim of framing a shared vision and a reimagined approach for Industrial Parks which fosters systems-thinking and integrated delivery for transformative change. This is required in order to best serve industry, communities and the country as a whole while at the same time addressing economic development and providing a basis for sustainable industrialisation.
I am happy that this Summit has drawn a lot from other government Departments, private sector role players, the United Nations Industrial Organisation (UNIDO) and research institutions like CSIR and others. I am also pleased that the Department has an open book in looking at what are the privately owned and ran Industrial Parks are doing, that we can adopt. They too can learn from our Parks.
What is clear to me is that we will have to adopt a differentiated institutional-type landscape for our new approach to the Industrial Park. What do I mean by a differentiated institutional-type landscape? We need to retain government-owned Industrial Parks on the basis of better management and efficiency. This include strong team with capacity to engage investors to settle in these Parks.
Secondly, we will have to think about Public-Private Partnership approach in other strategic areas to stimulate investor appetite and pipeline predicated on strong technical management and investment teams.
Lastly, we need to encourage mushrooming of private sector owned Industrial Parks where government cannot come to the party. Countries like UK are seeing growth in what they call Industrial Units and Business Parks. We need to encourage this differentiated landscape as part of the spatial economic development ecosystem.
I am fascinated by the work that UNIDO is doing within the Industrial Parks ecosystem introducing additional elements that are new responses to our industrial and environmental challenges. I have seen UNIDO report and the development of what they call Eco-Industrial Parks which are predicated on green initiatives, a response to climate change. They are doing an interesting work in Ethiopia in rural side through what they call Integrated Agro-food Industrial Park. For me, this is an important prototype for us to adopt its elements for rural economy interventions through industrial Parks.
Township and rural economy would be best catalysed by the proliferation of Industrial Parks, at least per each District in all the 44 Districts of SA. We will have to be radical and be intentional about this capitalizing on each district endowment or a potential of one or two niches around it. Where we cannot do, we need to engage the private sector and sweeten our proposition with an incentive such as Critical Infrastructure Programme (CIP) for underground structures, as an example.
Our fundamental policy of localisation, of which Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) places much premium on, will be best served by an industrialization efforts that is buttressed by, amongst other things, a repositioned and growing Industrial Park landscape. We need to attract more manufacturing enterprises.
Some of these spatial economic development zones doesn’t have to be at a scale of the current form of the Industrial Parks. We can start small in the form of Development of SMMEs hubs (Enterprise Hubs / Precincts) which will be dedicated to township & rural development and promote localisation, within each approved industrial Park. These Hubs can organically grow and evolve overtime as investor pipeline expand.
If there is one lesson we have learnt from the current outlook of the Industrial Parks is the fact that without good management that is technically sound, and investor-focused – no investor will stay for that long in the Park. They will leave to better places where they can be serviced optimally.
I want to wish you a robust but productive Summit that will give us a line of march on what a new reimagined Industrial Park landscape will look like!