SALDANHA’S INDUSTRIAL DREAMING ZONE. IS IT FINALLY COMING TRUE?

Deputy Minister in upbeat mood during recent site visit

Yes we’ve heard it all before, but it still sounds good. R21 billion.  21 000 jobs. A pipeline of economic wellbeing straight from heaven.

The Saldanha Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ) is to the maritime sector what Nirvana is to believers and non-believers alike – lovely to think about but hard to reach.

But finally there is more than just talk happening over at the west coast site that recently welcomed Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Fikile Majola, who rattled off a few promising stats, among them an encouraging number of new confirmed investors:

“The SBIDZ has also signed eight new investment agreements with operational companies in the maritime, oil and gas sectors,” Majola said during his visit. “These investments will lead to permanent and sustainable jobs that the country needs to create for its citizens. The development of the zone will also have to align and integrate with the entire area of Saldanha and the West Coast region to achieve real projects that benefit all.”

Majola also emphasized the need for cooperation between different spheres of government and state-owned agencies “with the aim of driving the development of the zone through the District Development Model approach,” the SBIDZ said in a statement published after the visit.

Majola was joined by SBIDZ chief executive officer Kaashifah Beukes who detailed several other achievements, among them the readiness assessments of 35 local companies. SBIDZ had also spent 35% of the zone’s total spend, around R200-million, with local contractors, Beukes said, adding that SBIDZ had provided support to the local SMME sector via its SME Co-Lab facility established in March 2020. The facility had attracted more than 1 500 SMME visits and engagements since it opened, she said.

“We are proud to have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic and are on track to usher in projects worth more than R300 million in capital investment towards investor infrastructure, bringing a much-needed boost to our construction sector and jobs in the West Coast, and ultimately, the country,” Beukes said.  The SBIDZ had created more than 2 900 jobs and skills training opportunities for 1 800 beneficiaries.  “We calculate the eventual economic contribution to be more than R12 billion and this will result in the creation of more than 21 000 jobs. We have a pipeline of 52 investors, 11 of which have signed lease agreements and already 18% of the gross area has been leased. We anticipate that investment will grow to R21 billion by 2030,” added Beukes.

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