The South African economic investment and industrial policies have worked where there are adequate resources, hence more interventions and innovations will be able to grow the economy and create more jobs. This was said by the Chief Economist of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Stephen Hanival. Hanival was speaking at the first two-day National Special Economic Zones Conference that is hosted by the dti, in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) in Durban.
According to Hanival, where resources were adequately and properly designed, economic investment and industrial policy worked in key sectors and interventions and created jobs.Hanival added that notwithstanding the challenges that the country’s economy faces, the global economic activities, and many challenges that the localisation programme faces, the localisation programme has been successful and has saved industries.
Hanival said previously, the SA Shipyards in Durban were facing a shrinking order book. In 2014, the dti designated working vessels and this led to SA Shipyards being awarded a R1.45 billion tender for the production of nine tugboats, including one of the world’s most powerful harbour tugboats. This resulted in the creation of 480 direct new jobs and 3 000 indirect jobs at the peak of production. SA Shipyards is a 100% black-owned company and is 67% woman-owned.
“Key Industrial Policy Action Plan sectors are showing significant employment creation, in the fourth quarter of 2018 a total of 149 000 jobs were created in South Africa of which the manufacturing sector contributed 48 000 jobs. Although manufactured trade remains in deficit due to substantial consumer imports, manufactured exports have grown substantially in real terms,” said Hanival.
Speaking at the same conference, the Chief Director of Special Economic Zones at the dti, Mr Maoto Molefane said South Africa, like many other developed and emerging economies recognised industrialisation as a preferred route to sustainable economic success. Although the SEZ programme is relatively new in SA, Molefane said it has changed, and continue to change the economic landscapes of many host regions.
“South Africa has a unique opportunity for industrialisation, but the window must be fully utilised through instruments such as the SEZs. SEZs are powerful development and industrialisation instruments, given effective implementation. As government we are committed to improve and upscale the impact of the SEZs programme and we have therefore prioritised the finalisation of a 10 year SEZ Development Roadmap, continuous policy and legislative improvements, designate new SEZs, market the SEZ Programme and promote investments, and capacity as well as institutional development for 2019/2020 financial year,” said Molefane.
The conference will continue tomorrow and will be addressed by Minister of the Department of Small Business Development Ms Lindiwe Zulu, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Zweli Mkhize and the Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Mr Madala Masuku.