CAPE TOWN, The South African Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has announced that it is developing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in two provinces-- North West and Mpumalanga.

Briefing the National Council of Provinces Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on its annual report for 2016/17 in Parliament here Wednesday, the Director General of the department, Lionel October, said the dti had also not lost sight of the fact that other provinces were also in need of such zones.

SEZs are geographically designated areas of a country that are set aside for specifically targeted economic activities.

The director-general further briefed the committee on progress made in the implementation of industrial parks and the Black Industrialists Programme.

In pursuit of driving economic transformation and increasing participation in industrialisation, the dti has approved six industrial parks for revitalisation under the Critical Infrastructure Programme. These are in Phuthaditlhaba, GaRankuwa, Seshego, Nkowankowa, Ekandustria and Bodirelo, said October.

Of the 13 projects approved in the last financial year under the Critical Infrastructure Programme, grants to the tune of 310.9 million Rand were approved, with 4,515 jobs created.

October said with the newly-launched agro-processing scheme, which will cover the length and breadth of the country and focus on rural areas and emerging black farmers, there is an urgent need to speed up transformation and create more Black Industrialists.

October said in the first full year of operation of the Black Industrialists Programme, 36 companies were assisted, with support of approximately 1.0 billion Rand and investments of over 3.0 billion Rand. These created 7,000 new direct jobs in the provinces of Eastern Cape, Free State, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Western Cape.


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