Vaal River SEZ to drive industrialisation, boost job creation

Office of the Premier 2022/08/09 - 22:00

 Lerato Mailoane

The Gauteng Provincial Government is laying the foundation for public-private partnerships to transform and ensure sustainable growth for the Vaal Region.

Working with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition and the Sedibeng District Municipality, the provincial government established the Vaal River Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Company and the Programme Management Unit, to coordinate the Vaal River Smart City project in 2021.

SEZs are geographically designated areas set aside for specifically targeted economic activities, which are supported through special arrangements and support systems to promote industrial development.

These will unleash linkages between the township and rural economies and create jobs in line with the national government's District Development Model (DDM) and the Growing Gauteng Together (GGT2030) action plan.

Government's plans around the Vaal River SEZ will come under the spotlight when President Cyril Ramaphosa and Premier David Makhura, lead the DDM Presidential Imbizo on Friday, 12 August 2022.

The Vaal River SEZ business case is based on making the region:

  • A critical location for the development of the Hydrogen Economy and green re-industrialisation initiative which will transform and modernise this industrial basin into the country's preeminent hub for low-carbon manufacturing and renewable energy production;
  • A cannabis capital of Africa, a new sector that has enormous potential to offer opportunities to new emerging farmers and new industrialists who grow and process cannabis for medicinal and other uses;
  • A high-impact investment zone for the food industry, agriculture, and agri-food value chains: building the Vaal aerotropolis;
  • A logistics gateway (air, road, rail, river) in collaboration with the Vaal aerotropolis;
  • Making the Vaal River a key destination for tourism and the Blue economy;
  • Building a Smart City along the Vaal River to enable SEZ development and drive urban regeneration;
  • Vaal Marina development;
  • Heidelberg aerodrome;
  • Working with universities and the private sector to build a comparative advantage of the key sectors and industries such as green hydrogen, cannabis, Agri-foods, logistics, tourism, and the blue economy through research, skills development, and innovation. 

Meanwhile the OR Tambo International Airport SEZ is set to drive industrial activity and job creation in the rail and freight sector.

That is according to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau who was speaking at a virtual webinar on OR Tambo International SEZ hosted under the theme "Linking export opportunities to Africa and Beyond."

MEC Tau said the SEZ's location is ideal for investors in the freight industry. Government is currently expanding its rail network between Gauteng and Eastern Cape with a high-speed rail corridor that would give additional opportunities for people to be able to export and import directly between the two provinces.

"The high-speed corridor has been declared a Strategic Infrastructure Programme in the Presidency, therefore, giving us the opportunity to focus on increasing logistics that support both rail-based and air-based logistics in the SEZ," Tau said.


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