The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will finalise the designation of the Atlantis and the Nkomazi special economic zones (SEZs), located in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, respectively, in the next financial year.
Briefing members of the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on the State of the Nation Address and national Budget as they relate to the mandate of the DTI, on Tuesday, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies stressed the importance of the SEZ programme in accelerating industrialisation.
“More importantly, the programme is a critical tool for attracting foreign direct investment, creating decent jobs, establishing new industrial centres, as well as developing and improving infrastructure,” he said.
Eight SEZs have already been designated – Saldanha Bay, in the Western Cape, Richards Bay and Dube TradePort in KwaZulu-Natal, Coega and East London in the Eastern Cape, Maluti-a-Phofung, in the Free State, Musina, in Limpopo and OR Tambo, in Gauteng.
“The budget allocation of R4.9-billion for industrial infrastructure projects is in line with our objectives of expanding economic opportunities focused on underdeveloped areas,” Davies noted.
He added that investments in SEZs would benefit from a reduced corporate tax rate and the employment tax incentive.
“The package of support measures available to investors in SEZs is becoming comparable to that offered by our global competitors. South Africa still has work to do to improve the efficiency of regulatory decision-making but the investment offering is improving significantly.”
The proposed Atlantis SEZ will be positioned as a green-tech manufacturing hub, with the intention of manufacturing green technology components and services such as solar photovoltaic components, wind turbine blades, wind turbine towers and solar water heaters. The green technology clusters to be implemented in the SEZ are expected to create more than 1 400 jobs in Atlantis.
The Nkomazi SEZ is designed to be a multisectorial industrial zone which will focus on agroprocessing, the production of nutraceuticals, refining of nutritional oils, sugar milling, meat processing and leather beneficiation, as well as the production of fertiliser.