17 February 2011
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has committed R25-billion to new investments in South Africa’s “green economy” over the next five years, says Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel.
“We have started with the installation of solar water geysers in new low-cost houses and, to date, have 25 000 units installed through a partnership that includes the IDC,” Patel told a media briefing at Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“With a further 170 000 units planned, this project will contribute to employment creation as well as strengthening the local manufacture of components, as we intend to improve the sourcing of components to at least 85% local content shortly.”
Patel said South Africa’s New Growth Path would grow the economy by boosting infrastructure spend on various projects, as well as ramping up the agro-processing and farming sectors.
In addition, the IDC would make R5-billion in funding available to the country’s agro-processing sector over the next five years.
The development finance institution has also been asked to review its loan application procedures, including the time it takes to grant finance to entrepreneurs, as well as the cost of finance.
World first project
The government was also working on a one-of-a-kind project, Patel said, which could result in thousands of jobs. “We are working on a project to set up the world’s first integrated metals plant beneficiating titanium, zirconium, vanadium, magnesium and silicone.
“If it is confirmed through the feasibility study being undertaken, it will involve a R15-billion investment and could create more than 7 000 jobs in construction as well as the operation of the plant.”
Cutting red tape
Patel said his department would also look at cutting red tape and supporting businesses in the informal economy by merging the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) – which supplies business support to entrepreneurs – with small business funding agencies to form a single entity to assist small businesses.
A new direct small business funding programme would also be rolled out, with details to be announced next week, he said.