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Mthatha Special Economic Zone development (SEZ) soon to get off the ground. This was transpired in a Wild Coast SEZ Technical Meeting held on Wednesday, 18 April 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to table progress and the roll out of the programme. The reports included status update on SEZ; progress on Development Plan; progress on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); Land Availability Agreement and Input from KSDM and OR Tambo DM. Mthatha SEZ is part of Integrated Wild Coast SEZ development aimed at rekindling manufacturing in the area and its focus is on agro processing. According to the Wild Coast SEZ Project Director, Mr. David Lefutso, the development is planned to take off the ground with a sod turning ceremony that is expected to take place in December this year in an earmarked land next to Mthatha Airport. Funds of R300 Million has been committed for construction of infrastructure which includes internal roads, water and sanitation. During the construction phase, it is anticipated that 6420 jobs will be created and when the hub is fully operational at least 2500 young people are expected to be permanently employed.

KSDM Portfolio Head for Rural Economic Development, Cllr Nyaniso Nelani stressed the importance of this development as it is intended to promote the economy of Mthatha area and create job opportunities for locals. He also mentioned that the programme also meant to support local primary production up to a manufacturing stage and limit the importation. Phase one of the development will focus on primary production, manufacturing and logistics. Communities of Link and Ncise villages stand to benefit in this massive development through rentals. Lot of potential projects has been identified for the first phase and are looked at supporting the primary production of the area. The list consists of tunnel/hydroponic farming; vegetable processing and packaging facility; meat processing facility; logistics and distribution facility; maize storage facility and silos; maize milling facility; dairy processing with warehousing; wool sourcing (inclusive of sorting and classing) facility; shared administrative and services facility and a multi-use agro processing incubator aimed at smaller and seasonal producers.

Closing the session OR Tambo DM Executive Mayor, Cllr Nomakhosazana Meth expressed her excitement that there is a progress being done towards realisation of this long anticipated development saying that the initiative gives hope to the community of KSD and OR Tambo as a whole. She said communities must be assisted to utilise heritage endowment which is agriculture to address the