South Africa is faced with many socio-economic challenges; principally, sluggish growth and high levels of unemployment.
In response to the government’s objectives to create much-needed growth and employment opportunities, the Gauteng Provincial Government has established the Gauteng IDZ, a Special Purpose Vehicle mandated with the development of the OR Tambo International Airport SEZ (also known as OR Tambo SEZ).
In support of the OR Tambo SEZ’s competitive location, focus of the Gauteng IDZ is to promote the manufacturing and export of high-value, lightweight or low-mass products through OR Tambo International Airport.
Presently conceptualized around three approved SEZ locations, the first Precinct of the OR Tambo SEZ is focused on agro-processing and mineral beneficiation. To-date, a 22,735m² food manufacturing facility has been delivered, creating over 2,500 operational jobs.
The remaining part of the first Precinct (also referred to ORTIA Precinct 1) is the subject of construction work already underway, with development of a Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct (“JMP”).
The Development Concept of the JMP
Designed in a cluster approach, the 27,239m² jewelry precinct development aims to aggregate the production and export of beneficiated products through OR Tambo International. Specifically, the master plan of the JMP provides for the presence of various role players, all contributing to an effective value chain of production and support services, in proximity to one another. These include a metals refinery, jewellery and diamond manufacturers as well as globally reputable logistics companies key for the movement of beneficiated goods to the Airport apron.
In addition, the national regulatory agency established to consider and approve licences necessary to beneficiate or trade minerals in South Africa is also located at the Park.
An enterprise development hub that aims to ensure that the requisite support is provided to emerging enterprises in this sector also has a presence.
Why Mineral Beneficiation?
The Gauteng IDZ chose to develop a Jewellery Manufacturing Hub in response to the significant challenges faced by the jewelry and diamond industry in South Africa in the recent past, where it has experienced a steep decline since the early 2000s with a lot of lost job and employment opportunities. This is despite Africa continuing to be home to most of the world’s mineral reserves.
With significant global structural changes that have seen a shift from historical markets, the development of the Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct aims to support African jewelry and diamond manufacturers with the production and export of beneficiated metal products from Africa for global consumption.
Supported by the South African Special Economic Zone regime, the JMP provides export manufacturing investors located at the Park with access to incentives packaged as part of the national SEZ program; these include VAT exemption and relief from import customs and excise duties. This is because an SEZ is a delineated geographic area set aside for economic activities and supported by special means that are aimed at promoting national economic growth. Through special means such as applicable SEZ incentives and government funding support in infrastructure, the objective is to support investors in the establishment of export-focused businesses that can create jobs and promote growth
Economic Impact of the JMP
In support of South Africa’s comparative mineral endowment, the JMP will create a globally competitive mineral beneficiation cluster that supports the creation of much-needed jobs whilst also contributing to South Africa’s beneficiation of minerals mined in Africa.
A globally competitive gold refinery and jewelry manufacturer is already operating from the JMP since April 2021.
In addition, an 8 000m² building housing the South African Diamonds and Precious Metals Regulator (including the Diamond Exchange and Export Centre) and the State Diamond Trader has also been operational since September 2021.
Work on the remaining buildings is at an advanced stage and is earmarked for completion by the end of 2022.
For more information on the investment opportunities at OR Tambo SEZ, email [email protected]
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