Screen grab of Leda site.
CAPE TOWN - The Limpopo Economic Development Agency (Leda) has signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) and a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with nine Chinese companies who have committed to investing more than $10billion (R124.66bn) in the Musina-Makhado special economic zone (SEZ), the trade and industry department (dti) said on Saturday.

The signing ceremonies of eight MoUs and the MoA took place in Beijing on Friday and Saturday, the dti said. The South African delegation included Leda group chief executive Ben Mphahlele, dti deputy director- general for SEZs Sipho Zikode, and Limpopo economic development, environment, and tourism department head Solly Kgopong.

“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,” Mphahlele said.

The Musina-Makhado SEZ was advancing very fast and generating a significant amount of interest among potential investors, he said.

Due diligence

“The signing will be followed by due diligence as technical representatives of the companies 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,” Mphahlele said.

The development of the SEZ was a “game changer” and he was confidence that the positive impact of the SEZ would extend to other parts of Limpopo and other African countries, such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique, Mphahlele said.

Kgopong said the signing of the MoUs was a major milestone in the development of the Musina-Makhado 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,” Kgopong said. 

- African News Agency (ANA)