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South Africa to establish special economic zones
[February 21, 2013]

South Africa to establish special economic zones

CAPE TOWN, Feb 21, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The South African government, in partnership with Limpopo Province, will establish two Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to attract more investment and boost economic growth, it was announced on Thursday.

Among the country's nine provinces, Limpopo will be the first to set up Special Economic Zones, according to the Government Communication and Information System.

"We are happy to report to this House that we are the only province to receive provisional approval for two Special Economic Zones," Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale told the National Assembly.

The Department of Trade and Industry released its draft Special Economic Zones Policy and Bill in 2012 and invited the country's nine provinces to submit proposals for the establishment of Economic Zones. But only Limpopo has got approval from the government.

The first Special Economic Zone, Mathale said, will be at the border town of Musina, a strategic geographic location that serves as the entry port to the rest of Africa.

This will be a huge benefit to the people of the province, Mathale said.

He said this economic zone will focus on logistics and the beneficiation of coal, while the second economic zone will be in Greater Tubatse Municipality, where it will explore the possibilities in the Platinum Group Metals value chain.

He said currently, there is a feasibility study underway with support from Anglo-Platinum which seeks to establish a hydrogen fuel cell industry in the province.

The project, according to Mathale, will have several benefits, including the possibility of providing a reliable source of electricity to communities in the province who are currently connected to the electricity grid of public electricity utility Eskom.

The Premier said the establishment of the hydrogen fuel cell industry will also create an additional demand for platinum.

"What is more interesting and encouraging is that work has already begun to institutionalize these two Special Economic Zones.

"In Tubatse, this includes the Department of Science and Technology, the private sector and our two universities in the province, while in Musina negotiations have started with Transnet and the land owners in order to ensure that we maximize the full potential of this mineral rich area," he said.

Mathale said the two special economic zones will add the necessary impetus to the development of the identified Growth Points of Greater Tubatse, Musina and Makhado.

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