The protracted chronic water shortages in parts of Limpopo province have the potential to derail planned economic investment projects to the tune of R150 billion.
Yesterday, Premier Stanley Mathabatha told municipal managers, chief financial officers, speakers and chief whips from 25 local and district municipalities from the province’s five districts that it was time to declare war against illegal connections and theft of water infrastructure, in an effort to save water for the survival of the so-called special economic zones in Musina, Makhado and other municipalities.
Mathabatha was speaking during a Water Summit in Bela-Bela.
“You will be aware that our Musina-Makhado special economic zone (SEZ) is expected to revitalise Limpopo’s industrial economy,” he said. “This will be done by utilising our local mineral resources, and integrating the industrial chains of both the upstream and downstream.”
Mathabatha said within the special economic zone, several plants, such as a coal washery, coal-fired power plant, coking plant, stainless steel plant and high-carbon ferrochrome plant were expected to be constructed.
He said supporting administrative services such as houses, hotels, shopping malls, healthcare facilities and schools were also expected to be constructed within the SEZ projects.
In July this year, the premier led his delegation to China in an endeavour to seal economic investment deals to expand the Musina-Makhado SEZ. The visit came on the heels of the visit by the department of trade and industry to Beijing in April.
This led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Limpopo Economic Development Agency and potential investors from China’s Shanxi province.
This massive investment is expected to create about 20 000 jobs for the people of Limpopo.
The promised economic benefits come months after Statistics South Africa revealed that more than two million people in Limpopo live below the breadline, despite being in the centre of three pillars of economy: mining, tourism and agriculture.