While the Coega- and East London IDZs should be seen as positive steps towards development in the province, the bigger picture is being ignored.

The slow processing of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) is impacting negatively on the continued success of our IDZs. The Democratic Alliance is of the opinion that there is a need for accelerated asset depreciation, labour laws should be simplified to encourage job creation, and import/export duties should be relaxed.

There is a need for the expediency of customs clearing. Stories of containers sitting at customs for six months are becoming common place. In an IDZ there should be properly trained and dedicated customs officials that can expedite the clearing of goods in our ports. Fixing this alone would make the Eastern Cape infinitely more attractive to investors.

During economic times like the current recession, it is of utmost importance that government stimulates faster economic growth while at the same time creating jobs.

Industrial Development Zones have been important vehicles used by developing nations like South Africa to stimulate and facilitate investment, boost exports and most importantly, create jobs.

An IDZ is, in essence, an adaptation of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) concept, of which there are more than 600 worldwide. They fall under a different set of development policies that are designed to encourage export orientated- and value adding industries.

These concepts have worked well in other countries across a diverse range, and can work here.
What is needed to make them work well is support from the government.

In a society of opportunity, it is the duty of government to create the framework of opportunity for business and its citizens within its boundaries. The creation of the IDZ’s in South Africa is a step in the right direction. Now is the time for us to make them work.

For further information, please contact John Cupido, MPL on 083 336 6987