The revamping of the Botshabelo Industrial Park in the Free State has attracted investments of over R500 million and created more than 5 000 direct job opportunities.
The upgrading of the park is part of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme, which is being rolled out throughout the country to renovate State-owned industrial parks located in historically disadvantaged areas.
The objectives of the revitalisation programme include promoting industrialisation, attracting investments, increasing the occupancy rate of the parks, driving retention and expansion, and addressing inequality.
National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chief Whip Seiso Mohai, who visited the park recently, said he was delighted to see that the Botshabelo Industrial Park will attract more investors through its revitalisation programme.
Mohai, accompanied by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli and Free State Provincial Whip Itumeleng Ntsube, has for the past two days been on an oversight visit to the industrial park to monitor and evaluate progress and its impact in the revitalisation of the township economy in the Free State.
During the visit, the delegation was briefed by various stakeholders, including Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina and Manguang Metropolitan Municipality Chief Whip Zolile Mangcotywa on the progress made and the crucial role the park has in advancing the country’s economy.
Mohai heard that 108 of 144 factories in the park are currently occupied and fully operational, increasing the park occupancy rate to more than 76.5%.
“The revitalisation of the township economy and projects in place have changed the image of Botshabelo Industrial Park and the perception many business people had about it. According to the presentations made to us, clearly more investors are in the pipeline,” said Mohai.
The delegation expressed their excitement that the park’s state-of-the-art digital hub is fully operational.
The hub has received R5 million in funding from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), an agency of the Department of Small Business Development.
The delegation also heard that Seda is currently hosting activations and boot camps in Thaba Nchu, Botshabelo and other areas surrounding Bloemfontein, to create awareness about the digital hub, and to identify young people who will receive training at the hub, as part of developing entrepreneurs in innovation to equip them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
R760 million invested in industrial parks
The department has invested R760 million in industrial parks across the country through the revitalisation programme since its inception in 2015.
The revitalisation is implemented in phases, with the first phase focusing on upgrading the security features. Phase one of the Botshabelo Industrial Park was approved for funding of R24 million, and was the first industrial park to reach completion. The second phase was approved for almost R50 million.