The Manufacturing Circle will work with Gauteng Premier David Makhura on an action plan to revive the Vaal Triangle and arrest the decline of manufacturing in the region.
“The Vaal Triangle rejuvenation project is being driven by the CEO Initiative, which Manufacturing Circle chairperson André de Ruyter is coordinating,” Manufacturing Circle executive director Philippa Rodseth pointed out.
“While we have a buy-in from industry in the area, we also need government backing. The Premier has agreed to set up a task team to work on this,” she added in a statement on Monday.
She warned that the Vaal Triangle was turning into South Africa’s “rust belt”, with significant plant closures, a slow rate of investment and the viability of major production plants under threat.
With its existing road, rail, pipeline, water, health and housing infrastructure, the Vaal Triangle could be turned around to ensure “manufacturing greatness”.
“There are already major raw material producers such as ArcelorMittal South Africa, Safripol, Sasol and Omnia. Downstream manufacturers include Nampak, Dorbyl, Hall Longmore and Scaw metals.”
Rodseth noted that the Manufacturing Circle wants to work with government to access support measures.
These would include a favourable tax rate of 15% for existing and new business in the Vaal Triangle, if it were to be declared a special economic zone; accelerated depreciation allowances; tax holidays for new investments; recapitalisation allowances; and support to local authorities to ensure electrical and road infrastructure is maintained.
“Manufacturers must make a commitment to continued investment, to job creation, and we must all agree we will commit for the long term,” she said.