Industrial Parks Revitalization Programme experiencing problems
DURBAN - The Department of Trade and Industry (Dti) Industrial Parks Revitalization Programme was experiencing problems caused by immediate communities and business forums who disrupted the process and delayed progress in the facilities respective areas.
Dti said that examples of these included theft of material at the Babelegi Industrial Park in Hammanskraal, damage to property at the Ga-Rankuwa Industrial Park and the blocking of contractors from doing their job in Ekandustria Industrial Park all of which resulted in delays and and extra costs.
The Isithebe Industrial Park in KwaZulu-Natal consistently experienced property burnings by certain sections of the community which prompted some companies to consider relocating away from the area.
The department’s chief director of Regional Industrial Development Stieneke Jensma also said that the fiscus did not have adequate funding to speed up the process hence they were turning to bringing the private sector on-board. “The Industrial Parks Revitalization Programme has already realised results despite being at its infancy level having completed phase 1 in the first 10 industrial parks. These include the retention of jobs, recording 65 000 jobs in the first 12 IP's identified for revitalisation, attraction of new investments, retention of existing investments in the parks as well as promoting further developments in these areas such as the construction of roads,” said Jensma.
Dti said this was a strategic programme of the government whose costs would be informed by the number of Industrial Parks that formed part of it. Currently, 27 Industrial Parks are part of the Programme. R511 million was approved for funding the Phase 1 of the first 10 Industrial parks.
The Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme focused on physical infrastructure as well as management support issues, with the key objective of enhancing regional industrialisation.
This would enhance their occupancy rates, drive retention and expansion of firms and contribute to economic growth, diversification of economic activity, attract investments, job creation and address inequality. The programme was implemented in a phased approach with 5 phases to be implemented.
Jensma said that the programme was aimed at turning around the current state of the Industrial parks and delivering state of the art world class facilities that could provide a conducive and enabling environment for the promotion of industrial development. She said that the industrialists that would be based in the industrial parks would have all the necessary industrial infrastructure for effective and efficient manufacturing.
The manufacturing sector GDP contribution declined due to power cuts amongst other challenges. Some sector companies even shut down.
Jensma said the state-owned Industrial Parks were currently in need of refurbishment. “These are state assets that have previously provided several jobs in their host areas. They have unfortunately not received the necessary attention in terms of maintenance and further development.”
Dti believed that state owned Industrial parks have the potential to provide the much needed jobs in the townships and rural areas.
Jensma said the government would drive the decentralisation of industrial development as industrialisation was a successful strategy for job creation. “This programme goes beyond job creation and also promoted inclusive growth and equality by promoting industrialisation in the areas that historically received the least infrastructural development support.”
“An opportunity exists for collaboration amongst the various government departments to bring a holistic approach to development. The programme has also brought on board the Dti’s Black Industrialist (BI) programme to support the growth and development of Black owned manufacturing entities in the IP’s.”
In November last year, with its support, the Dti the various state owned Industrial parks have come together to form the Association for State-owned Industrial Parks (ASOIP) which would develop the programme further, drive investments and serve as a platform to professionalise the running of the parks.