The operational investment value of the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) has increased due to the Special Economic Zones programme (SEZ) attracting a significant number of investors.
The value increased from R17.7 billion by the end of the third quarter of the 2019-2020 financial year to R19.5 billion for the same period of the 2020-2021 financial year.
This is according to Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nomalungelo Gina. She was speaking during her week-long visit to KwaZulu-Natal and look in on the RBIDZ.
“This is a positive increase of R1.8 billion. During the same period, the number of investments has increased from 129 to 143,” said Gina.
Gina’s visit was part of the national Siyahlola programme whose purpose is to assess progress made in the implementation of the SEZ programme, revitalisation of industrial parks programme, and the sector-specific master plans that are part of the re-imagined national industrial development strategy.
During her visit, Gina met with the City of uMhlathuze mayor Mduduzi Mhlongo, RBIDZ chairperson Mel Clark, acting chief executive Simangele Ngcobo and other senior government officials from KwaZulu-Natal.
Gina said the SEZ programme was one of the key instruments that were used to achieve the objectives of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan.
“The government has to create a platform where shareholders and investors are able to feel the impact of our intervention when it comes to foreign and domestic direct investments in these zones. We need to look at the whole value chain and identify projects that will be able to empower all surrounding areas including entrepreneurs outside these zones,” Gina said.
She added that programmes like Siyahlola will result in tangible results being achieved through sharing of ideas at all levels.
RBIDZ’s Acting chief executive Simangele Ngcobo said she believed that the Siyahlola Programme would strengthen all efforts of turning around the circumstances in the face of destruction caused by Covid-19.
“The recorded progress evidenced by the commencement of construction by the two catalyst investment projects being Wilmar Processing SA (Pty) Ltd and Nyanza Light Metals (Pty) Ltd, which are investing a combined private investment value of R5.8 billion. They were expected to create approximately 800 direct jobs. These investments were expected to create an estimated 2 200 construction jobs,” said Ngcobo.
RBIDZ said it was pleased that the deputy minister commended the positive progress by the entity.
“RBIDZ remains a strategic asset that will help change the face of the province moving forward. We are determined to contribute towards the creation of employment, leveraging on the direct investments with different sectors of the economy being targeted to drive growth, spiralling skills transfer as well as value chain benefits to the people at large,” said Ngcobo.
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