The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in Limpopo, Mr Rodgers Monama, has urged small businesses in the province to take advantage of the myriad opportunities that are offered by the special economic zones that are being developed.

Monama was delivering a keynote address at the Workplace Challenge Programme 25th   anniversary milestone workshop in Tzaneen today. The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and Productivity SA hosted the workshop, whose aim was to recognise and celebrate companies that have benefitted from the programme, and have demonstrated resilience in the difficult economic environment to sustain their businesses through the implementation of the programme.

The Workplace Challenge Programme is a productivity and competitiveness enhancement intervention for the small and medium enterprises operating in the manufacturing sector.

Monama said the two special economic zones located in Limpopo, namely the Fetakgomo-Tubatse SEZ in Sekhukhune and the Makhado-Musina SEZ are an integral part of the province’s socio-economic recovery plan.

“These SEZs are high-impact economic instruments comprising of catalytic projects that are aimed at making them centres of industrialisation. They are a game changer. There is an abundance of business and investment opportunities that are generated by these SEZs. Therefore, we call on all our businesspeople to roll up their sleeves and take advantages of these opportunities,” said Monama.

He added that the Musina Makhado SEZ was set to become of the biggest in the metallurgical industry, while Fetakgomo-Tubatse teems with opportunities in  the upstream, mainstream and downstream beneficiation of the platinum group metals (PGMs).

“Small and medium enterprises are the backbone of the economy as they create the most number of sustainable jobs in the country. Therefore, as a province, we would like to see them being in the forefront of industrialisation that will be taking place in these SEZs by proactively exploring and exploiting opportunities offered by the province’s SEZs. This will undoubtedly increase the contribution of our small enterprises in the economy of the province,” noted Monama.

He also urged businesspeople to work with government in a social compact characterised by the private and public sector working together and forging partnerships to ensure that they accelerate and stimulate the economy of the province for the benefit of all the people.

“This is how we can be able to transform the socio-economic landscape of the province. It is important that all and sundry put their hands on the deck to ensure that we advance and confront the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment that  are confronting us as a country, and ensure that we improve our Gini co-efficiency. Our economy is stubborn in terms of transformation, particularly in the manufacturing sector. We still have few blacks who are involved in the mainstream economy. We call upon black businesspeople to participate in their numbers in the Black Industrialists Programme that government has initiated in order to change this situation,” noted Monama.

South Africa had the highest inequality in income distribution in 2022 with a Gini score of 63.

Monama also stated that Limpopo had a competitive advantage in various sectors such as tourism, mining, and agriculture. To illustrate his point, he cited the deal that was struck between the province and China at the 15th edition of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. The deal will see virtually all of the province’s avocadoes being exported to China. This he said, will also benefit small scale avocado farmers, in particular.

The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in Limpopo, Mr Rodgers Monama, speaking at the Workplace Challenge Programme     milestone workshop in Tzaneen today

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