The proposed Fetakgomo-Tubatse Special Economic Zone (FTSEZ) in the Sekhukhune Districts of the Limpopo Province is expected to attract much needed foreign direct and domestic investment opportuneities once completed.
Solly Kgopong, the Executive Head of FTSEZ say key among his objectives is to position this state entity to become a centre of excellence for green energy manufacturing, agro-processing as well mineral beneficiation.
Kgopong said “The key lever of this SEZ is to establish a mining input supplier cluster which we have already started through the integration of an existing industrial hub. We already have pipeline investors. Four of them are ready to move in in the next six or eight months. The area is rich with mineral resources with over 40 mining companies in the Sekhukhune District and this gives us an opportunity to process minerals and beneficiate minerals in the SEZ.”
The SEZ provides a glimmer of hope for SMMEs in the region.
Kgopong said the benefits are two-fold, saying that: “We are going to ensure that the people who getting the work that we do are SMMEs from the province, the district but particularly from Fetakgomo-Tubatse local municipality. The other key lever is that we want to bring together all the mining houses in order for us to establish manufacturing SMMEs in the SEZ because mines use a lot of products and therefore we want these products to be manufactured within the SEZ.”
Kgopong announced that they are planning to establish a training and development precinct within the SEZ. He said “We are going to do this in partnership with TVET institutions of higher learning and mining companies. We want to train thousands of young people to take advantage of this SEZ. The main opportunity where we want to train these young people is in the renewable energy, in particular, hydrogen fuel cells that are coming from platinum group metals which is the main product of this district.”
The Sekhukhune district is host to several mining industries and once completed the SEZ project will enhance the local manufacturing capacity and contribute immensely in the creation of job opportunities.
Sekhukhune boasts a high concentration of rich mineral resources and is a global leader of Platinum Group Metals and Chrome resources, hosting over 40 mining operations which also includes Vanadium, Iron Ore and selected battery minerals.
The proposed FTSEZ is projected to be a catalyst for economic growth, industrialization and mineral beneficiation, by localizing the various links of the value chain, both upstream and downstream.
An area of 1220 ha has been identified for the development of this state-of-the-art centre of excellence for green energy manufacturing and mineral beneficiation.
FTSEZ forms part of the South African Government’s SEZ programme which is aiming to enhance the country’s manufacturing and export capabilities and attract foreign direct investment.
Anchored in the Limpopo Development Plan (LDP), the FTSEZ is positioned and designed to be a top investment destination for companies seeking to be in the forefront of the green energy.
The priority industries in the FTSEZ will enhance the local
manufacturing capacity and contribute to low carbon green economy, and will offer socio-economic opportunities (for jobs & small businesses), not only to fight climate change, but to enhance energy security and develop local industries in the next 5 to 10 years.
The FTSEZ is being developed through a partnership between the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic), the Limpopo Provincial Government Sekhukhune District Municipality and Fetakgomo-Tubatse Municipality.
The main objective of this SEZ is to develop a low carbon / green economy which will offer promising opportunities, not only to fight climate change, but to enhance energy security and develop local industries.
The strategic aim of the SEZ is to develop green primary energy supply to localised manufacturing of both upstream and downstream activities of the PGMs and chrome value chains.
Through this project, government has reiterated its commitment to changing the socio-economic landscape of the country through the work done in Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Recently, the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola, visited the site of the proposed Fetakgomo-Tubatse Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Steelpoort and during his speech, he indicated that government has change “the way we operate.”
He said the existing and projected mining and beneficiation outlook for the Platinum Group of Metals and chrome drives the establishment of the proposed Fetakgomo-Tubatse SEZ.
“The proposed SEZ is conceived as a one-stop world class integrated sector-specific SEZ for providing products and related services addressing the entire range of mining input suppliers, the PGMs and chrome beneficiation value chains.
“This includes both the upstream and downstream beneficiation, general manufacturing product-value add and logistics.
“We must forge ahead with the construction of the new economy that will offer new opportunities to all our people. Sharing of wealth and opportunities should be at the top of our agenda,” Majola said.
He said government’s objective is to achieve an inclusive economy, and this cannot be realised if townships and rural areas are not meaningful participants in the mainstream economy.
“We remain convinced that this is the key element of an inclusive economic growth trajectory which can lift our people from poverty, cultivate entrepreneurial potential, establish dynamic township enterprises and circulate the ‘township rand’ within townships,” he said.