Free State Department of Trade and Industry in conjunction with the Free State government will be launching the first phase of the Tshiame Industrial Development Zone in Maluti-a-Phofung municipality in the Eastern Free State.
Project Director of Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) Mzwakhe Shoba says the zone will have one stop-shop and will also have products from Durban or Johannesburg distributed for export purposes from Tshiame.
“It will be the Activity Based Centre of Gravity, where everything will come from Durban or Johannesburg to be distributed, maybe for export purposes; from Tshiame. Imported products will come on train from Durban into Tshiame, since the biggest market is Gauteng,” he says.
The Industrial Development Zone is when the government designate a particular area for investment purposes. “We hope to ensure the environment is where investors can enforce job creation initiatives,” explains Shoba.
In the early 80s, the area around Harrismith used to be the hub for textile and clothing, so he says they are now in talks with big retailers to try to revitalise the industry, which is one part of the programme, the other being car manufactures. He says they are looking over period of five years to complete the project.
“The first phase will be fencing the whole area which will be 26KM of the fence and that will start in October. We plan to create over 20 000 jobs over a ten year period,” he says.
The Free State Development Cooperation is the applicant of this project. “Such a project aims to make Harrismith the hub of logistics in the country,” enthuses Shoba.