Trade and industry minister Rob Davies. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Trade and industry minister Rob Davies. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The department of trade and industry wants to double the value of investments in the country’s special economic zones (SEZs) to R23bn by the end of 2019, says trade and industry minister Rob Davies.

The government uses SEZs as a hook to attract investment by offering a range of incentives, including reduced corporate tax rates and state-of-the-art infrastructure.

According to the department, the SEZ programme has attracted 115 private companies with operational investments of R11.6bn from private investments leveraging off the R4.6bn of public investments. The SEZ programme has created more than 14,020 direct jobs, the department said on Tuesday.

“Taking advantage of the tax-incentive package and the SEZ investment pipeline, the department’s target is to increase the number of investments into the zones and double the rand value of operational investments from R11.6bn to R23bn by the end of 2019,” Davies said.

The department recently designated the Nkomazi SEZ in Mpumalanga, which is expected to stimulate economic and industrial development of the Nkomazi area. This SEZ, which is the country’s 10th, will be developed as an agro-processing hub, the department said. The Coega and the East London industrial development zones (IDZs) in the Eastern Cape are among the country’s most well-known SEZs. 

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the 124.5ha  Atlantis SEZ in the Western Cape. The Atlantis SEZ is designated for the manufacturing of green technologies, alternative waste management, energy efficient technology, alternative building material and many other “clean” technologies.

Said Davies, “The SEZ programme continues to be the government’s priority, industrial infrastructure programme aimed at developing new industrial hubs; attracting new foreign direct and domestic investments; contributing to the development of industrial capabilities and skills development; as well as the creation of decent jobs.”