Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe. Picture: GCIS
Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe. Picture: GCIS

The Department of Trade and Industry is busy with the processes of designating and marketing SA’s special economic zones (SEZ) in relation to local communities and potential Chinese investors.

Representatives from the Upington SEZ are this week leaving for China to seek investments. They are part of a South African delegation that will participate in an investment roadshow to Shanghai led by the Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe.

The CEO of the Free State Development Corporation, Ikhraam Osman, is also part of the delegation. He will market the potential of the Maluti-A-Phofung SEZ near Harrismith as a trans-shipment hub between Durban and Johannesburg.

The road show is intended to give representatives of the South African government and implementers of the SEZ programme the opportunity to present value propositions to potential investors.

Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has approved a recommendation from the SEZ advisory board to designate the Nkomazi SEZ in Mpumalanga.

Linked to Swaziland by two provincial roads and to Mozambique by railway and the main N4 national road, the zone will lead to "high impact" industrial development along the Maputo Corridor, Davies says.

"The designation of Nkomazi SEZ will not only give Mpumalanga an opportunity to process the agricultural produce — which [it] currently exports as primary produce — but will also enable skills and technology transfer, which are key to the improvement of agricultural productivity," he says.

The zone will initially be established on 300ha of land made available by the Nkomazi Local Municipality and will mainly focus on the secondary and tertiary processing of agricultural products, situated within a 200km radius of a well-developed agricultural sector.

The targeted value-chain includes citrus and subtropical fruits, aromatic plants and herbs, ground and tree nuts, nutraceuticals (dietary supplements and food additives), meat processing, leather goods and agri-inputs such as fertiliser.

The Department of Trade and Industry will arrange a public hearing in the Nkomazi area within 30 days to allow the community to provide further inputs on the proposed development

This comes as the process of designating the Atlantis "green-tech" SEZ in the Western Cape will be completed within the next two months.

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