Boost for job creation

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OPEN OPPORTUNITIES: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the first phase of the multimillion rand Komani Industrial Park at Queendustria on Monday with, from left, integrated planning and economic development (Iped) portfolio head at Chris Hani District Municipality Sibongile Mbotshane, DTI Minister Rob Davies   Picture: ZOLILE MENZELWA
OPEN OPPORTUNITIES: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched the first phase of the multimillion rand Komani Industrial Park at Queendustria on Monday with, from left, integrated planning and economic development (Iped) portfolio head at Chris Hani District Municipality Sibongile Mbotshane, DTI Minister Rob Davies Picture: ZOLILE MENZELWA

THE revitali- sation of industrial parks and establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) are the solution to unem-ployment and urbanisation, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Minister Rob Davies said on Monday.
This was at the launch of the first phase of the multimillion rand Komani Industrial Park.
The park was the fourth to be launched in the country, with about 40000 people employed countrywide.
The DTI spent R22.5-million on security upgrades at the Komani park.
Davies said the revitalisation of the parks would lead to investment opportunities.
The economy of the country was struggling while the world economy was in a depressed state.
“The real value of the economy lies not in the primary production sector, but in value addition,” Davies said.
While a technological revolution was taking over, black industrialists had to find ways to create jobs.
“We have machines taking jobs. Agro processing projects must be sought and there must be black industrialist programmes to ensure we continue to create jobs,” he said.
TDI portfolio member in Parliament Thozama Mantashe, Finance MEC Sakhumzi Somyo, Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) council speaker Mxolisi Koyo and Enoch Mgijima municipal manager Nolwandle Gqiba were among those attending.
Davies said the country could not industrialise by using total foreign investment or total white capital. The black industria-lisation programme had employed 1 500 people, while government had spent R1.5-billion on the programme.
“People move from rural areas to urban areas faster than we can create jobs.
“SEZs and the revitalisation of industrial parks will be the solution to unemployment.”
The Ezibeleni and Queendustria industrial parks had to be integrated with the next phase of the revitalisation set to look at infrastructure including buildings and roads. Seven small micro and medium enterprises were employed in the revitalisation programme and 71 people were employed, with 63% of them young people.
Going forward, Davies said, the business fraternity and government had to work together. He said there were complaints from businesses about high electricity prices and unreliability which Enoch Mgijima Municipality had to look into so investors were not driven away.
Enoch Mgijima acting mayor Xoliswa Xelo said the local authority would ensure the growth of the project.
Xelo said there were local black industrialists who were ready to work. “MEC Somyo, we will take our empty bags and begin to knock on doors with the hope that we will come back with those bags full of money.”
She said the next time Davies came to Komani, it would be to open an airport.
Somyo said the auto sector has been the driver of the EC economy but electricity problems and high prices drove investors to other towns.
Industrial parks had to be made to work while safe infrastructure had to be provided for investors.
CHDM integrated planning and economic development political head Sibongile Mbot- shane said the master plan for industrial parks by the district authority showed commitment to black industrialists who took part in the economy.

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