SA poised to declare Saldanha an IDZ, rethinks zone concept
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SA poised to declare Saldanha an IDZ, rethinks zone concept

The feasibility study into the development of South Africa’s fifth industrial development zone (IDZ) in the area surrounding the Port of Saldanha, in the Western Cape, should be completed by the end of October, a leading government official reported on Tuesday.

Addressing a seminar on ways to leverage South Africa’s ports for growth and employment, organised by the Southern African Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) director-general Lionel October added that he expected that the Saldanha IDZ should be officially declared by Minister Rob Davies in “early 2012”.

The new IDZ would emerge following a broad-ranging review of the IDZ concept and how it had been implemented at Coega, East London, the airport zone in Johannesburg and in Richards Bay.

The review acknowledging the shortcomings of the IDZ in promoting domestic and foreign investment into industrial activities on estates surrounding harbours and airports has led to the drafting of new legislation, which would also be published soon.

The new Dedicated Special Economic Zones Act would enable government to establish new special economic zones, or SEZs, in areas that were not necessarily physically associated with an airport or a sea port.

DTI director of IDZs Kaya Ngqaka indicated that the IDZs would become one of a number of SEZs, which would seek to attract investors through incentives, customs exemptions and the provision of world-class infrastructure.

Ngqaka said government would seek to ensure an integrated approach, which aligned the needs of the host municipalities with those of regulating national government departments and those State-owned enterprises that would provide infrastructure services within the zones.

He promised more rapid decision making in a bid to ease the path for investors looking to select a South African SEZ to develop new industrial capacity, which was a core country priority.

“There are many roads to economic ruin, but only one road to prosperity, which is the creation of a dynamic industrial sector,” October argued.

Netherlands Foreign Trade and Agriculture Minister Henk Bleker said that port-related industrial development, which had been central to social and economic progress in the Netherlands, could help South Africa meet it growth and employment targets.

He also extended a hand of partnership, stressing that the Dutch were no stranger to cooperative schemes that involved both private and public sector actors.

Therefore, any support provided to South African ports would not be undertaken by a “private consortium”, but rather a cooperative public-private model as had prove so successful in a port such as Rotterdam, which was considered by many as a ‘gateway’ to Europe.

He said that the Netherlands was ready and willing to offer its knowledge, experience and technology to support South Africa’s desire to be a gateway to Southern Africa, and its aspiration to further exploit its geographical positioning between the emerging giants of Asia, in the east, and Brazil to the west.


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