Limpopo attracting more international investors

Pretoria: Limpopo has become a destination of choice for international investors, says Limpopo Premier Chupu Mathabatha.

“During our trade and investment mission to the People’s Republic of China in October 2014, we signed Memoranda of Agreement with big investors.

“The first MOU was signed with Hong Kong Mining Exchange Company (Hoi Mor) for the establishment of South Africa Energy Meturlligical Base Project,” he said at the State of the Province Address (SOPA) at the Lebowakgomo Legislature on Tuesday.

The project, which has an investment value estimated at R38.8 billion, will be based in the Musina Special Economic Zone, and will create 19 000 direct jobs over a period of three years.

The Hoi Mor investment will result in beneficiation that integrates various resources and reduce the export of raw materials in favour for exporting beneficiated goods.

The South Africa’s Women Investment Holdings has entered into a joint venture agreement with Jidong Development Group and China Africa Development Fund for a R1.65 billion investment into cement manufacturing, which will be based in Thabazimbi.

The construction, which started in 2014, is due to be completed next month.

“I have no doubt that these investments will add value to our efforts of expanding the productive capacity of our economy,” said Premier Mathabatha.

Province invests in agriculture sector

Meanwhile, Premier Mathabatha said his provincial government is putting in place deliberate measures and focused investment in the agriculture sector.

“We opened Madzivhandila and Tompi Seleka Agricultural Colleges at the beginning of this year.

“The colleges are now fully functional and operational. They have a student enrolment of no less than 140,” he said.

Premier Mathabatha said the curriculum content has been restructured and developed to produce agricultural economists, extension officers, pasture and soil scientists, agronomists and horticulturalists.

The curriculum is also integrated with other disciplines offered by the University of Limpopo and the University of Venda. The Premier said this will also create a platform for the sharing of information and skills.

“The farmers, who are already practicing, will be able to go to these colleges to increase their knowledge and skills base,” he said.

The Fetsa Tlala programme

The Premier said Fetsa Tlala (end hunger) is one measure they have introduced in agriculture to ensure food security and sustainable livelihoods.

Through Fetsa Tlala, government intends to assist small-scale and smallholder producers to put at least one million hectares of arable land under production by 2019 across the country.

Nevertheless, Premier Mathabatha said the implementation of this programme has seen some challenges in terms of management, coordination and monitoring and have since instructed the MEC for agriculture to appoint a task team to help deal with these challenges.

“In this regard, we call upon all our social partners, traditional leaders, community leaders and subsistent farmers alike to work with the MEC and her team,” he said.

The Premier said in the next financial year, the focus will be on the revitalisation of irrigation schemes, construction of pack houses and revival of existing fresh markets.

Employment

The recent Labour Force Survey by Statistics South Africa indicates that employment in the province has increased by 67 000 more permanent jobs.

Premier Mathabatha said in the last quarter alone, the province has created 29 000 permanent jobs.

“In essence, we have reduced the unemployment rate by a percentage point from 16.9 to 15.9 in the intervening period. The expanded unemployment rate declined on a quarterly basis by 1.2 percentage points to 37.2%.

“There is therefore no doubt that we are faring better in creating more decent and sustainable jobs for our people. Nevertheless, more work still needs to be done,” he said.

SOURCE: South African Official News