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The Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone has to date attracted over R21 billion worth of investments, says Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Fikile Majola.

The Deputy Minister said these investments were at different stages of development and two of them, with private investment value of R380 million have already started constructing their manufacturing facilities.

The Deputy Minister visited the Western Cape based Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) on Thursday.

The SBIDZ is the first special economic zone (SEZ) to be located within a port and is the only sector-specific SEZ in South Africa catering specifically to the energy and maritime industries.

The zone operates as a free port with streamlined investor procedures supported by its ease of doing business model.

It is committed to creating a competitive and profitable zone for investors and local Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), while ensuring a better future for the community of the West Coast region. 

Majola said he was happy with the progress made within the zone as well as the implementation of its strategy since 2017.

“The SBIDZ has also signed eight new investment agreements with operational companies in the maritime, oil and gas sectors. These investments will lead to permanent and sustainable jobs that the country needs to create for its citizens.

“The development of the zone will also have to align and integrate with the entire area of Saldanha and West Coast region to achieve real projects that benefit all,” said Majola.

He also emphasised the urgency of involving all spheres of government and state-owned agencies with the aim of driving the development of the zone through the District Development Model approach.  

Chief Executive Officer of the SBIDZ, Kaashifah Beukes, said the zone has already conducted oil and gas readiness assessment on 35 local companies. The SBIDZ has spent more than R200 million, which translates to 35% of the zone’s total spend with local contractors.

She said the SBIDZ provided support to the local SMME sector through its SME Co-Lab facility established in March 2020. The Co-Lab has attracted more than 1 500 SMME visits and engagements since it opened.

“We are proud to have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and are on track to usher in projects worth more than R300 million in capital investment towards investor infrastructure, bringing a much-needed boost to our construction sector and jobs in the West Coast, and ultimately, the country,” she said.

Over 2 900 jobs have been created at the zone in the last five years, while more than 1 800 beneficiaries had received skills training in the last four years.

“We calculate the eventual economic contribution to be more than R12 billion and this will result in the creation of more than 21 000 jobs. We have a pipeline of 52 investors, 11 of which have signed lease agreements and already 18% of the gross area has been leased.

“We anticipate that investment will grow to R21 billion by 2030,” said Beukes.

SAnews.gov.za

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