Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are a key-driver to attaining industrialisation and South Africa’s economic growth objectives. This was said by Deputy Director-General responsible for Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Sipho Zikode. He was speaking during the Western Cape leg of the Special Economic Zone Roadshow that was held in Cape Town.
“We need to fast-track the establishment of SEZs to ensure that we attract investors into the country and accelerate job creation. It is our priority to ensure that we not only create jobs but jobs that are sustainable and are knowledge based,” said Mr Zikode.
Zikode added that the dti has introduced the SEZ programme as one of the industrial policy instruments to ensure that the department becomes relevant to challenges facing the country’s lack of skills and manufacturing growth.
“Earlier in the year we launched the eighth iteration of the Industrial Policy Action (IPAP) to try diversify our economy and move the country from being a commodity driven economy into a one that manufacturers value-added products,” he added.
In addition, Zikode pointed out the issue of land unavailability as posing the biggest challenge in the establishment of SEZs.
“It is important to note that SEZs are a long-term developmental programme and that they are an important platform for joint planning and collaboration across all the spheres of government. We are currently sitting with a unique opportunity for industrialisation as a nation and have seen this position already yield deliverables. We will soon be processing an application for designation of the proposed Atlantis Special Economic Zone, which is aimed at capitalising on the Western Cape is already booming renewable energy and green technology sector,” said Zikode.
All views expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of SALGA.