Posted: September 2, 2021
The first of the provincial online workshops on industrial parks hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) took place with the Free State stakeholders this week. The workshop was held in partnership with the Free State Development Corporation (FDC) and the Department of Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA).
According to the Acting Chief Director of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Industrial Parks at the dtic, Mr Thami Klassen, the purpose of the workshops is to engage with the various government departments, agencies, private sector, academia, interests groups and international organisations on the planned developments in regards to the Revitalisation of the Industrial Parks Programme that is driven by the department.
“The Revitalisation of the Industrial Parks Programme was started by our department in 2015. The objectives of the programme include advancing the township and rural economy through industrialisation by building enabling infrastructure, growing the supplier development base for productive and services sectors and addressing localisation through innovation and technology hubs and incubation centres, as well as promoting entrepreneurship,” says Klassen.
He adds that the dtic deemed it necessary to consult all the key stakeholders in the industrial sparks space, and exchange ideas and information on the achievements of the programme in the past six years, the challenges they have experienced together in the implementation of the programme, as well as new opportunities that the programme presents going forward.
“As a department we were impressed by the interest that our first workshop generated in the Free States. Inputs and discussions on a variety of issues concerning the industrial parks such as the industrial parks policy, challenges and lessons learnt, digital hubs, and eco-industrial parks will go a long way in enriching our review of the programme in order to improve it and ensure that it successfully achieves the objectives it was established to achieve in a sustainable way,” stresses Klassen.
The Chief Executive Office of the FDC, Mr Thabo Lebelo, expressed his gratitude and support for this initiative, stating that it is pivotal for putting the industrial parks in the province as the frontiers of economic development, especially in benefit of the hosting townships.
“This workshop comes at a critical time where all government organs need to collaborate effectively to achieve efficiencies in rolling industrial programmes of this nature,” says Mr Lebelo.
Feedback and inputs that the department will gather during the workshops will contribute significantly in the formulation of the industrial parks policy to attract new investments, achieve the growth and sustainability of existing industrial parks, development of new industrial parks, and pursue the co-ownership approach as the three spheres of government with private business, in line with the adopted new approach to develop the SEZs.
“We openly expressed ideas and shared information on the current state of the global and national economies which are experiencing a decline and stagnation due to poor performance of manufacturing or value-add industries as key drivers of job multipliers. The hostile socio-economic ecosystem; poor governance and regulation systems in municipalities; township unrests and incoherent economic development practices that often lead to poor climate for current and future investments, also came under the spotlight in the workshop,” adds Klassen.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
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Issued by: The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
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