The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has completed the first phase of the revitalisation of the Phuthaditjhaba Industrial Park in the Free State.
At a cost of R50m, the revitalisation included the upgrading of security infrastructure including fencing, street lighting, installation of boom gates, pedestrian gates, installation of CCTV cameras and control room, as well as the refurbishment of high mast lights.
This initiative is part of the dti’s Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme, which aims to revitalise state-owned industrial parks across the country in order to promote industrialisation and increase their contribution to job creation and the country’s economic growth.
According to the dti, the programme is also in line with the department’s economic transformation initiatives aimed at ensuring that all regions of the country and enterprises based there participate meaningfully in the mainstream economy.
Importance of collaboration
The deputy director-general of the Special Economic Zones and Economic Transformation division at the dti, Sipho Zikode, said the handover marks an important milestone in the implementation of the revitalisation programme.
“We are witnessing the fruits of the importance of collaboration and using the expertise available in government and its affiliates. The Industrial Parks and the dti have collaborated with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, who are our technical partners, the Free State Provincial government as well as the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality.
“We are looking forward to the next milestone when the national and provincial political leaders launch the park officially. Thereafter, we will be embarking on the second phase of the revitalisation programme,” said Zikode.
He expressed confidence that the revitalised park will attract more local entrepreneurs to set up their operations in the park because of the good infrastructure and security that the park is now providing.
Attract more investors
Ikraam Osman, the CEO of the Free State Development Corporation (FDC), which manages the park, said the upgrading would have a positive impact on the park and the surrounding areas in that it will attract more investors who will contribute in creating jobs for the local people.
At the moment, the park, which was built more than 40 years ago, has 296 factories located in it.
The companies manufacture various products including textile and clothing, paper bags, furniture, leather goods including bags and belts, as well as aluminium and glass products.
“Currently the park’s occupancy rate stands at 66% and we expect this to improve. Firstly, the upgrading of the infrastructure means that we will have happy businesspeople in the park,” said Osman.
He said their investment rate will increase, adding that the better the parks looks, the more investors it will attract. “That will bode well for the park and the economy of the Phuthaditjhaba area in particular and that of the province in general.”