R40 billion investments set for Sedibeng economy

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At least R40 billion in investments has been committed by foreign and local investors towards the transformation and reigniting of the Sedibeng District economy in Gauteng.

The commitments were made during the inaugural Sedibeng Investment Conference and could spell the creation of at least 170 000 jobs.

Delivering the opening address at the conference, Sedibeng District executive mayor Lerato Maloka spoke on the impact of local investment into the area.

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“This will unleash the much-needed impetus to implement the Master Plan aimed at building strong linkages between the township and rural economies, create jobs and activate the vital work of the Vaal Special Economic Zone.

“It is time for all of us to re-ignite the birthplace of the industrialisation of South Africa,” said Sedibeng Municipality Mayor Lerato Maloka.

Addressing the conference on Friday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the gathering had the potential to be a “game changer” if the commitments made are followed through and the investments are brought to fruition.

“We must warn ourselves…that history may be very harsh on us if this becomes a talk shop. Future generations may look at this and say, ‘Like many conferences, they met, they made speeches, they made pledges and nothing came of it’. So we come together not because we want speeches but because we want change. We want to drive real change,” Makhura said.

Makhura said the area – which includes the Emfuleni, Lesedi and Midvaal Local Municipalities – has “huge, hidden” economic potential, which all three spheres of government want to unlock.

One of the areas that he said his government is looking forward to unlocking lies in green energy.

“This should be the hub of the development of the hydrogen economy in Gauteng and as it’s the birthplace of [the province’s] industrialisation that is called ‘dirty industry’, [then] this must be the birthplace of green industrialisation,” he said.

Makhura said cannabis farming is also an industry that they will be targeting for growth in the area.

“…There is potential… to bring in new emerging farmers into the cannabis economy, principally for export, including processing.”

Other industries and sectors that are part of the reigniting of the Vaal economy include agro-processing, agribusiness, food and beverage, transport and logistics, and tourism and hospitality.

Delegates ranging from government officials to captains of industry at the Sedibeng Investment Conference

National government supports Sedibeng economy

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola has described the Sedibeng Region as the heartland of industrialisation in Gauteng.

“Government has a deep conviction that it will turn Sedibeng into a prosperous district and that it will also transform this industrial basin into the country’s pre-eminent hub for low-carbon manufacturing and renewable energy production,” said Majola.

To revive the region, Majola said innovative responses from leadership from all spheres of government are in motion.

“The national and provincial government are working closely with a range of relevant parastatals and partnerships with the private sector on an economic revitalisation programme for the Vaal Region. 

“This is linked to the dtic efforts to set up and anchor the revival of the industrial belt in the area through a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which will form a single multi-tier and integrated zone.” 

The SEZ Programme is at the core of the re-imagined industrial strategy purposely structured to stimulate local and foreign direct investment, increase exports, develop local industrial capabilities and accelerate the development of the country.

“We are building on the Vaal SEZ vision as well as arresting the decline and imminent collapse of the steel industry through government interventions to accelerate manufacturing-led industrialisation.

“These proposed investments present an opportunity to accelerate the development of infrastructure, which has multipliers with regards to stimulating other manufacturing activities.”

Furthermore, Majola said the dtic is working with the other spheres of government, in the development of the proposed projects in the area such as the Heidelberg Aerodrome, the development of a Hydrogen hub, the development of the Vaal River City, the Vaal Marina Commercial development and the Vaal River Cannabis project.

Live stream of the Sedibeng Investment Conference
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