Premier Stanley Mathabatha speaking during the State of the Province address.
“To date, the Musina-Makhado SEZ project has managed to attract a total investment commitment of around R150 billion to the province,” said Premier Stanley Mathabatha.
Mathabatha was speaking during the State of the Province address held in the Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane last Friday.
Mathabatha said that the R150 billion total investment commitment will go a long way in creating much-needed jobs and other economic opportunities, especially for the youth. “According to existing plans and programmes, several plants will be constructed under these SEZ projects, creating over 21 000 jobs,” he said.
According to Mathabatha, no socio-economic prosperity can be achieved without partnerships and cooperation. “It is for this reason that over the past five years we have been working to strengthen and solidify relations with our regional partners and our counterparts in the BRICS community. To this end, appropriate resources will be allocated to send young people to universities in China. The idea is to train and equip these young people with requisite skills to be able to participate fully in the running of our SEZ project,” Mathabatha said.
He said the SEZ is strategically located to accelerate and consolidate economic integration within the SADC region. “Our focus is to ensure that sister countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique also benefit from this massive economic project,” he added.
He said that they are expecting that an environmental impact assessment study on the SEZ project will be completed by the end of August, so that the real work could commence. “There can be no doubt that the economy of Limpopo will never be the same again, once this project is fully operational,” he added.
Although the technical recession had a negative impact on the growth and development of the provincial economy, he said the provincial economy remained resilient and was able to create jobs in line with the commitment that they made in 2014. “The Stats South Africa’s Labour Force Survey indicates that since 2014, the provincial economy has been able to create 317 000 jobs. The latest figures from StatsSA indicate that Limpopo has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Our unemployment rate is currently at 16.5% against the national average of 27.1%,” he added.
He indicated that mining is the biggest contributor towards the provincial economy at 24.5% of the provincial gross domestic product. “Jobs in this sector have increased from 71 000 in 2013 to 103 000 in 2017/18. With the new mining projects in the pipeline, these figures are expected to increase by a further 3000,” he said.
He said illegal mining continues to impact negatively on the province’s economy and investor confidence. The government is alert to this activity and always respond speedily with law-enforcement agencies, he added. According to him to date, 63 people have been arrested for participating in illegal mining activity.
Date:01 March 2019 - By: Mbulaheni Ridovhona
The 22-year-old Mbulaheni (Gary) Ridovhona has been passionate about journalism to the extent that he would buy himself a copy of weekly Univen students' newsletter, Our Voice. After reading, he would write stories about his rural village, Mamvuka, and submit them to the very newsletter for publication. His deep-rooted love for words and writing saw him register for a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies at the University of Venda, and joined the Limpopo Mirror team in February 2016 as a journalism intern.