LIMPOPO – The MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Thabo Mokone, has successfully unveiled the long-awaited Musina-Makhado (MMSEZ) project which aims to attract foreign direct investment and create more than 20,000 jobs in Musina.
The unveiling, which was also attended by Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Competition, Fikile Majola, is expected to boost economic development and facilitate job creation through industrial investments.
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Addressing over 1,000 stakeholders, Mokone said the government’s goal is to develop the municipalities of Musina and Makhado in an integrated way through rail and road expansion that will benefit both the region and the some African countries.
Mokone said the government is proud to announce that the MMSEZ project has officially started and soon the residents of Musina/Makhado will see the dust kicking up as site preparations begin.
“We have come a long way with this project, and we have promised our people that industrial development will stimulate economic activity and job creation. This is a time to celebrate our hard-earned efforts to bring about real change in this area.
The MEC said that there is no doubt that if implemented effectively through well-coordinated mobilization of stakeholders, the MMSEZ project will have major macroeconomic benefits for the region and Limpopo.
“This project will generate revenue, create jobs, broaden the tax base and be a net generator of foreign exchange earnings,” Mokone said.
It is estimated that the overall creation of direct and indirect jobs will be around 26,000 over a period exceeding a decade.
“We are determined to turn these predictions into reality,” Mokone stressed.
The MEC added that special economic zones do not operate as isolated enclaves, as their success depends on the backward and forward linkages they create and nurture with businesses operating outside these zones.
Mokone also stressed that education and skills development will be central to the success of the project.
Majola said his ministry was impressed with the development of the MMSEZ so far and encouraged the province to work even harder to build on this success in the future.
He acknowledged that he had found a friend overnight in the person of Dr. Mofasi Lekota, the Chairman of the Board of MMSEZ, who promised that there would soon be dust in the area. “I found a new friend who is young on the inside and speaks the language of delivery.”
Majola encouraged residents of Musina and surrounding areas to prepare for a period of inconvenience that would turn their town into a hive of activity as construction of much of the economic zone’s infrastructure picks up steam.
“When I come back here next time, I want to see real change. I want to kick industrial development into action. Promises are now a thing of the past,” Majola said.
He added that Musina will never be the same again. “This project will change the city forever.” The Deputy Minister said that this is a big step in the right direction for the practical implementation of the ZES program.
The Deputy Minister went on to say, “As a department, we are delighted with this kind of progress and we are committed to ensuring that the MMSEZ creates much needed jobs for the people of Musina, develops the economy of the city and promotes industrialization and manufacturing of goods for domestic consumption and export in line with the objectives of the ZES program.
Leda Group CEO Thakhani Makhuvha, who was present at the unveiling, hailed the new developments and urged residents of Musina and Makhado to join hands and embrace the SEZ for their own benefit.
He said the project has now fully taken off and people can now celebrate with pride.