A special economic zone (SEZ) is to be established in the Rustenburg platinum belt in the North West, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced last week.
“The purpose of this SEZ will be to develop industries that use platinum as an input,” Mr Davies said. “These include jewellery, catalytic converters and fuel cell technology.”
Davies announced the SEZ in his keynote address on reindustrialisation in South Africa and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (Ipap) as part of the Japan Seminar held at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg last week. The seminar was hosted by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in South Africa and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO).
Davies said his department had made “significant gains” through iterations of Ipap since its inception in the 2007-08 financial year. Achievements were made in the clothing and textile, automotive, agro-processing and film sectors.
“Ipap is neither a policy document nor a wish list,” he said. “It is a set of time-bound actions which have to be undertaken by different parts of government. These have been successful because they are developed in consultation with the private sector.”
He said that, through Ipap, the government had succeeded in developing finance institutions and introducing a suite of incentives to support manufacturing and the competitiveness of companies.
The theme of the seminar was Local Industrialisation in South Africa and the Contribution of Japanese Businesses – Lessons from East Asia.
Japanese foreign direct investments are steadily increasing in South Africa, the DTI said. Japanese investments in the country have generated around 150 000 jobs. Companies such as Toyota are increasingly becoming involved in supplier development programmes, which are significantly raising the capacity of local manufacturers.
The DTI said it had signed memoranda of understanding with JETRO as well as Japanese banks through its Trade and Investment Division.
The objective of the agreements is to support the increase of trade between Japan and South Africa and to assist Japanese investors entering the local market.