- Mr Stanley Chupu Mathabatha, Premier of Limpopo Province in South Africa, gave an update on the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (MMSEZ) during his State of the Province Address on 23rd February.
- The mega industrial project is very much moving forward with visible infrastructure developement happening on the ground plus a renewable energy strategy under plan with USAID.
- Civil society and environmental groups are against the project. Read more
Mathabatha said that they aredeveloping a province-specific and comprehensive energy plan “to ensure that we build a new electricity generation capacity in our province. To this effect, the provincial government, and subsequently municipalities, must include in their plans the development of energy production projects”.
“These plans must encapsulate the possible retrofitting of solar panels to all government buildings. This will have to be done in a way that will complement Eskom. The provision of healthcare and education services should be amongst the first to be insulated from the electric power supply interruptions. And it is in this context that as a start, I have mandated the MEC for Health to prioritise the installation of solar power to hospitals and clinics in the province. In the same spirit, I am pleased to report about the launch of the Renewable Energy Strategy by Musina-Makhado SEZ in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development. The strategy, which will be launched next month in March, will serve as a blueprint to guide investments in our energy cluster, and also to promote sustainable development.visible work at the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone,” said Mathabatha.
The Premier also reported that, after the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment, construction work in the North-Site has commenced with the laying of bulk infrastructure. “The construction of the 14 kilometres internal roads has already created immediate opportunities for work-seekers and local entrepreneurs. Additional bulk installations, such as water, sewer, electricity, and integrated security infrastructure, will continue in 2023. It is also worth mentioning that the appeal process, in respect of the Musina-Makhado SEZ South-Site Environmental Impact Assessment was concluded in July 2022. This has paved a way for the completion of the township establishment and the roll-out of the requisite bulk infrastructure services,” said Mathabatha.
Environmental groups are against the development. There are multiple court challenges against the project including claims of a flawed environmental impact assessment approval. Read more
Mathabatha added that the province will overcome the parties that continue litigating against the development of the Musina-Makhado SEZ. “We are confident that, as before, we shall overcome this hurdle,” he said.
“In the recent past, there has, on the other hand, been an outcry about the unavailability of water to support the MusinaMakhado SEZ. We are, however, pleased to announce that the Department of Water and Sanitation has given us an assurance that it will support the project with water on a short, medium- to long-term basis. Among the proposed water sources, are ground water, imported water, and the development of new dams in the Vhembe District,” said Mathabatha.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal