The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial parks are critical players in South Africa’s industrialisation agenda and economic growth. This was said by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Mr Fikile Majola. He was addressing the   SEZs Chief Executive Officers’ Forum and Spatial Industrial Development Strategy Consultation Session at the Industrial Development Corporation in Sandton today.

“For these SEZs and parks to contribute immensely to the industrialisation and economic growth of the country, all spheres of government will need to urgently consolidate their efforts in ensuring that the potential of all SEZs is realised. The overall success of the proposed Spatial Industrial Development (SID) strategy is linked to the performance of both the existing and proposed SEZs. The new SID approach will not succeed unless we improve performance in each of the SEZs,” said Majola.

Majola pointed out that the intention of the new SID strategy was to streamline all spatial industrial development support measures under a single plan within each district municipality in the country, using the District Development Model as a point of reference.

Majola mentioned that the core pillars of the approach include promotion of the industrialisation in order to create employment and rising incomes;  transformation in order to build an inclusive economy; and improving the implementation capability of the state and the impact of public policies.

“We want to upscale the implementation of the SID across the country in line with the District Development Model which propagates focus of resources on developing each of the country’s district. Immediate implementation will include the mapping of industrial opportunities in all districts for support and establishment of joint planning teams with provinces and districts. This new approach is also pivotal to the re-imagined industrial strategy, which prioritises ten industrial sectors, aimed at transforming the economy for the benefit of all South Africans, through the creation of employment,” outlined Majola.

According to Majola, of significance to the proposed SID strategy, which seeks to advance the development of globally competitive industrial clusters through the SEZ Programme are cross-border SEZs. He said these zones were best placed to propel the development of world-class production facilities that can leverage off the continents’ varied comparative advantages.

Majola also stated that under the implementation of the new development approach, there was notable progress in the planning and coordination of the existing and proposed SEZs across the country, but noted some weaknesses that require immediate collective attention.

“We need to ensure that provinces support the programme and they are ready to play a leadership role in planning, developing and managing SEZs, among other things. Secondly, it is imperative to secure funding commitment from the other spheres of government as this remains a challenge, And lastly, we need to jointly seek ways to improve the SEZ governance systems as weaknesses related thereto still compromise the performance of some of the zones,” said Majola.

Assuming that this programme is implemented in the context of the salient success determinants that have been proven internationally, Majola said it could go a long way in advancing both the country’s and continent’s industrialisation agenda.

Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
Tel: (012) 394 1643
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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