SA commits to cementing economic ties with Belgium

Sunday, March 26, 2023

South Africa is committed to cementing economic ties with Belgium, says Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister, Fikile Majola.

Majola said one of the key focus areas in such efforts is the manufacturing of value added products.

The Deputy Minister was speaking during a visit by Belgian King Phillippe at the OR Tambo Special Economic Zone (ORTSEZ), in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng on Friday.

This as His Majesty, the King, together with his wife, Queen Mathilda were participating in the State Visit to South Africa, with an aim to enhance political and economic relations between the two countries.

The ORT Tambo SEZ’s Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct (JMP) houses Belgium’s Pluczenik Diamonds, which has gone into a partnership with a young South African entrepreneur Kealeboga Pule of Nungu Diamonds to establish a diamond-polishing factory in this country.

Pluczenik was established in South Africa in 1948 before its headquarters moved to Belgium a few decades later.

The new deal facilitated the return of the company to South Africa. It also has diamond-cutting and polishing facilities in Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho.

The value of investment by Pluczenik in this deal is $10 million over a period of five years. It is estimated that the investment will create just over a 100 jobs, which translates to high productivity and capacity.

Majola said through the SEZ programme, government is committed to attracting investment from both domestic and foreign markets, among other things, through the creation of an enabling platform that facilitates investment in its defined high value low mass industries and beneficiation is one of the areas of focus.

“We want to unlock and facilitate the development of appropriate infrastructure required by investors who sign up to operationalise their investments, thereby enhancing the manufacturing and export of products through OR Tambo International Airport.

“This specific partnership continues to enable South Africa to meet its beneficiation objectives and supports communities, particularly as diamonds have a long history and heritage in the country,” Majola said. –