It is extremely concerning to note that there is only one fully operational Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Gauteng.
This information was revealed in a reply to my written questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to the MEC for Economic Development, Parks Tau. The fully operational SEZ is ORITA, located in Ekurhuleni.
The fact that there is only one fully operational SEZ is surprising, considering that Premier David Makhura spent a considerable amount of time during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) to highlight the importance of SEZs in promoting economic growth in the province.
Furthermore, the MEC states that the Jewellery Hub which is the second phase of this SEZ in Ekurhuleni will become operational in the 2022/23 financial year.
The Vaal SEZ only exists on paper as part of a Master Plan while there is no geographical location for this zone.
SEZs play an important role in encouraging the private sector to invest in the economy and will also play an important role in ensuring that skills transfer can take place in the community where it is operational. This is key to ensuring that the current unemployment rate in the province decreases.
In addition, these zones provide a space for small businesses to operate in a space that is able to cater to their operational needs. It is high time that the ANC-led Gauteng government ensures that these spaces in the province become operational and are maintained regularly.
I will be engaging with the MEC For Economic Development to ascertain what plans are in place to ensure that all SEZs and Industrial Hubs are operational in the province and what time frames are in place for this to happen.