South Africa to Setup Special Economic Zones

Special Economic Zones
The Coega Development Corporation’s headquarters, with the Port of Ngqura in the background

AFRICANGLOBE – South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has identified 10 potential Special Economic Zones (SEZs) countrywide, and will soon be conducting feasibility studies to determine their viability, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Presenting the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Bill to Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry in Cape Town on Friday, Davies also said his department was close to finalising Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape as a Special Economic Zones.

Davies told the committee that Special Economic Zones aimed to promote economic growth and job creation, by setting up enabling environments for developing targeted industrial activities and attracting both domestic and foreign direct investment in manufacturing and tradeable services.

Davies said that SEZs included free ports, free trade zones, industrial development zones (IDZs), and sector development zones.

He said the country’s three existing IDZs – in Richards Bay, East London, and Coega outside Port Elizabeth – would fall under the Special Economic Zones programme.

Davies told the committee that the IDZs were beginning to gain traction, citing the example of the East London IDZ, which grew its private sector investment from R600-million in 2009 to R4-billion in 2012.

He said the Saldanha Bay IDZ would soon be designated, and was expected to create up to 4 500 direct and indirect jobs in its first year, increasing to 15 000 jobs in the its year.

A feasibility study has also found that Saldanha Bay was an ideal location for the development of an oil and gas and marine repair hub, Davies said.

A natural harbour located about 105 kilometres north-west of Cape Town, Saldanha Bay is competitively placed between the oil and gas developments on the west coast of Africa, as well as the recent gas finds on the east coast of Africa.