Inside R150 billion Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone

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An artist's impression of the proposed Musina-Makhado special economic zone. An artist's impression of the proposed Musina-Makhado special economic zone.

The Limpopo provincial government has committed to finally establishing the R150-billion Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (MMSEZ).

Lehlogonolo Masoga, CEO of the MMSEZ, said that the project would be launched in April. Documents seen by the Sunday World indicate that the MMSEZ has finally been granted environmental approval despite protests from interested and affected parties, mainly game farm owners.

Those opposed to the MMSEZ argue that the proposed Chinese coal-fired power station for the zone would contribute to pollution in the area, global warming and climate change. Special economic zones are part of the government’s plans to speed up industrialisation by attracting foreign direct investment to various sectors to grow the economy using targeted incentive packages and favourable regulatory regimes.

The initiative is led by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and they are responsible for designating an area as a special economic zone. DA provincial leader and member of the provincial legislature Jaques Smalle said: “A special economic zone of this magnitude and the investments in the developments are highly dependent on excellent road and rail infrastructure and stable electricity and water supplies, none of which are currently available in the Vhembe district… It remains to be seen if the MMSEZ will launch in 2022.” Freedom Front Plus leader in Limpopo Marcelle Maritz said: “The Limpopo provincial government, with its premier, are known for not keeping promises.

“We are not convinced that this project will be launched because it has been two years since they spoke about it and nothing concrete has been done.” Masoga, however, said the SEZ would kick-off.

“We worked hard to mitigate the potential negative consequences of the project by embracing green energy, reducing the size of the development and opted for cutting edge technology to support sustainable development.” Masoga indicated that a multibillion-rand investment in solar energy to power the heavy industrial park had already been signed off in response to concerns by local stakeholders.

“Our constitution and the National Environmental Management Act call for a balancing act between the environment and socio-economic interests of the people, and we believe that this project is poised to respond to the ravaging poverty and unemployment levels in our country and Limpopo in particular.”

Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha said the MMSEZ was a fully designated SEZ and Limpopo was working towards the designation of a second site in Fetakgomo- Tubatse in the minerals-rich Sekhukhune district.

Aubrey Luvha, secretary of the Mulambwane Communal Property Association in Makhado, said: “Young people are excited about the developments because it is long overdue. This will be an economic boost for Musina-Makhado and Limpopo at large.”


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