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Deal signed for economic zone

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More than a thousand jobs will be created

MEC Mac Jack. Picture: Danie van der Lith

A MEMORANDUM of understanding was signed between the Northern Cape Economic Development Agency (NCEDA) and Coega Development Corporation for the multibillion-rand Upington special economic zone (SEZ) in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

The CEO of the NCEDA, Thobela Dikeni, said that the project would employ 1 200 people.

“Construction should begin in 2018, while it should be operational by 2043. We have commenced with the environmental impact assessment and have appointed Motla Consulting Engineers and EOH Consulting Engineers. Road networks as well as electricity and infrastructure will also be put in place. The Coega Development Corporation will provide capacity and assist in the process,” said Dikeni.

The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Mac Jack, said that the Upington SEZ would be linked to Boegoe Bay as an export channel for various commodities.

Responsible

“The Upington SEZ is a business entity of the Northern Cape provincial government, responsible for leading a manufacturing revolution in the renewable and solar energy, mining, agriculture, aeronautical and other sectors,” said Jack.

He stated that this would lead to economic activity as well as attract foreign and domestic investment to the region.

“The proposed Upington SEZ is driven by the demand for renewable solar energy power in South Africa and is anticipated to increase the use of renewable energy as a source of electricity generation which will drive the establishment of new industries.”

Jack added that, to date, bulk infrastructure has been put in place for phase 1, consisting of 58.4 hectares.

“Electricity for the SEZ will be provided through the development of a new photovoltaic (PV) facility with an output of up to approximately 23 megawatts, located on 72 hectares of land within the SEZ, which will commence from phase 2.”

Jack is leading a delegation to the Coega Development Corporation and the East London Industrial Development Zone on a five-day fact-finding mission in East London and Port Elizabeth this week.