Boosting manufacturing is a key priority for Limpopo Special Economic Zones and industrial parks are being built to provide infrastructure.
Westfalia fruit warehouse. Credit: Westfalia
etting more value for the minerals and agricultural crops that are extracted from the soil of Limpopo is a major goal of economic planners. A key component of the strategy to boost the value of the region’s products through manufacturing is to develop Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial parks. Described as “major catalytic projects”, the Musina-Makhado SEZ (approved and forging ahead), the Tubatse SEZ (proposed) and several industrial parks (either being revived or established) are central to the strategy to grow Limpopo’s manufacturing capacity. As of February 2020, Shaanxi CEI Investment Holdings had committed to a $5-billion investment in a vanadium and titanium smelter project at the MusinaMakhado SEZ (MMSEZ) and a further $1.1-billion had been pledged from other sources. The focus of the first phase of the SEZ is on energy and metallurgical processes but agriprocessing, logistics and general manufacturing are expected to follow in short order. An investment conference targeting the northern side of the SEZ was held in November 2019 and a South African
LIMPOPO BUSINESS 2020/21
company has announced it will manufacture products in the electric vehicle field, new energy solar system products, energy storage systems and high-density polyethylene water pipes. Most of the planning for both sections of the SEZ is complete and the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are nearly finished. Projections for employment opportunities at the MMSEZ have been revised upwards to 26 000. The plans for the proposed Tubatse SEZ have been amended and will be submitted to national government in the course of 2020. The SEZ in Tubatse will focus on the beneficiation of platinum group metals (PGM) and mining-related manufacturing. Phase one of the project would see a 280ha site developed to accommodate a mining suppliers park, light manufacturing, heavy manufacturing, logistics, a solar energy cluster and a PGM beneficiation cluster. A good example of an attempt to derive greater benefit from an agricultural product is the plan to create a Marula Industrial Park. The Marula Industrial Hub envisaged for the Phalaborwa area will provide a platform to further