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Free State Business 2021

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The 2021 edition of Free State Business is the 11th issue of this successful publication that, since its launch, has established itself as the premier business and investment guide for the Free State. The Free State has varied investment and business opportunities and the Free State Development Corporation describes some of these in detail in these pages. Drilling for natural gas is a new phenomenon which may spark activity in other sectors and this journal notes significant new investments and projects in the chemicals and mining sectors. The official launch of the Maluti-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone (MAP SEZ) was a significant event for the economy of South Africa’s most centrally located province. Located on the strategically significant N3 highway that links the economic heartland of South Africa to the coast, the MAP SEZ has the potential to attract new investors and spark a revival in the manufacturing sector. In addition, overviews on each of the key economic sectors provide up-to-date information on trends in the mining and tourism sectors, for example. Regular information about the size and nature of each sector is also included.

OVERVIEW Manufacturing

OVERVIEW Manufacturing The textile sector is recovering. Seed funding and investment are critical in helping businesses get started, but sometimes good advice can be just as valuable. Tehilaa Golden CC, a clothing manufacturer, more than doubled its annual turnover to R11-million with the support of the SAB Foundation’s 18-month Tholoana Enterprise Programme. Tholoana offers skilled mentorship, business development tools and training, access to peer networks and finance. Founder Cherilyn Lucena (pictured) also expanded her workforce from 46 to 135. The SAB Foundation has provided over R8-million in grant funding and business support to 70 entrepreneurs in the Free State. Collective turnover has grown by 271%. A 172ha business park in Sasolburg designed to incubate black industrialists is a joint venture between the National Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and Sasol. There are five buildings on the site, training is provided, and companies have access to Sasol’s diverse supply chains. In 2018 Kevali Chemicals became the first beneficiary of the dtic’s Black Industrialists Scheme (BIS). A grant of R35-million allowed the company to acquire machinery and equipment to start a new line of manufacturing in the Maluti-a-Phofung SEZ (MAP SEZ). Sasolburg in the northern Free State is a key asset in South Africa’s chemicals industry. International giant Sasol has the biggest presence but companies such as Omnia and AECI are other major companies which give the Free State the lead in this sector which relies on advanced technology. Sasol in particular is faced with some tough decisions as its plants must start to comply with stricter sulphur dioxide emission standards. Manufacturing makes up 9% of Free State gross domestic product, and this comprises 4% of South Africa’s total. The Free State Regional Industrialisation Policy is under review to ensure integration of infrastructure, bulk service provision, industrial sites and export and tax incentives to attract investment. The existing manufacturing sector covers chemicals, agroprocessing, textiles, carpets, engineering, packaging, furniture and jewellery. Online Resources Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association: www.caia.co.za Free State Development Corporation: www.fdc.co.za South African Textile Federation: www.texfed.co.za Image: SAB Foundation Sector Insight The Sasol complex is the province’s biggest enterprise. About 20% of the Free State’s manufacturing sites are devoted to food and beverages, with soft drink giant Coca- Cola Fortune operating a large bottling plant in Mangaung. Landzicht Wine Cellar distributes 2.4-million litres of wine every year from Jacobsdal. Harrismith is home to both Nouwens Carpets and Boxmore Plastics. Boxmore Packaging’s new PET beer bottles are the first PET bottles specifically designed for beer on the South African market. Empire Gloves makes industrial gloves. Kroonstad-based Octa Engineering makes specialised rail carriages for the mining sector. In Bloemfontein, Transnet Engineering manufactures new wagons for the Transnet group, including iron ore and cement wagons and fuel tankers. ■ FREE STATE BUSINESS 2021 40

Tourism Culture and heritage have potential. OVERVIEW The global pandemic closed down the tourism sector and it Sector Insight will take some time to recover. The requirements for social Cancelled festivals will distancing mean that festivals will be one of the last types of mean job losses. tourism to restart. This will be a big blow for the Free State, where festivals such as the Bloemfontein has 151 rooms, Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe) have become a fixture on and there is a Road Lodge at many calendars. In 2019, a total of 921 temporary jobs were created the airport. at the festival. Other festivals that normally attract good crowds are The Rantsoareng Group the Cherry Festival (Ficksburg), the Rose Festival (Bloemfontein), the operates exclusively in the Free Clarens Craft Beer Festival and the Vintage Tractor Fair (Clocolan). State and has three properties, Bloemfontein’s Kunstefees celebrates artistic expression and the the biggest of which is the connections between cultures. President Hotel in Bloemfontein. Heritage is seen as a sector with growth potential. A Heroes’ Park is Sun International runs the to be constructed at Thaba Nchu and Tumahole with statues of Oliver Lesotho Sun and the Maseru Tambo and Fidel Castro. The much-delayed museum and statue at Brandfort to commemorate Winnie Madikizela-Mandela will be opened in the course of the 2020/21 financial year. The Free State is a good destination for water recreation. The Gariep Dam offers resorts and large expanses of water on which pleasure crafts can meander. Forever Resorts runs a popular resort with chalet accommodation and a caravan park. Overlooking the dam is the 43-room de Stijl Gariep Hotel. The Vaal River is another popular place. The town of Parys, which also boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the shape of the Vredefort Dome, is geared to river sports. The annual NAMPO Harvest Day is a major event. In 2019 more than 81 000 people descended on the small town of Bothaville on the banks of the Vals River. In 2019 the 88-room Splendid Inn Bloemfontein (pictured) was Sun in neighbouring Lesotho. opened by Premier Hotels & Resorts. Protea Hotels has four properties In Bloemfontein, the Windmill in the Free State, two in Bloemfontein, one in Harrismith and the Protea Image: Casino Protea Hotel and Clarens Entertainment Hotel Clarens. Centre offers slot machines and The Tsogo Group’s properties include the four-star Southern Sun gaming tables, plus conference Bloemfontein and the Goldfields Casino in Welkom. The City Lodge facilities. The four-star Willow Lodge has 80 rooms. The Naledi Online Resources Sun Hotel and Casino is about Bloemfontein Tourism: www.bloemfonteintourism.co.za 65km from Bloemfontein. Free State Gambling, Liquor & Tourism Authority: www.gla.fs.gov.za The Golden Gate Highlands Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, National Park in the Maluti Tourism and Environmental Affairs: www.destea.gov.za Mountains is one of South Africa’s great parks. ■ 41 FREE STATE BUSINESS 2021

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