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Free State Business 2022

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OVERVIEW Manufacturing A

OVERVIEW Manufacturing A steel smelter is under construction. A national programme to revitalise industrial parks, led by the National Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic), is paying off about 45km east of Bloemfontein. Among the biggest new investors in the Botshabelo Industrial Park is Hangda Trading which has started erecting a R200-million steel smelter which will employ more than 1 500 people. A dtic official and a Hangda executive are pictured on a site inspection. At the end of the first phase of revitalisation, 25 investors had invested R201-million and 1 360 jobs have been created. A Digital Hub in the park will provide training to small and medium enterprises focusing on ICT products. Further north, the strategically located Maluti-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone (MAP SEZ) has attracted R1-billion from investors. 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 MAP SEZ. Business hubs in Ficksburg and Koffiefontein are designed to support SMMEs. The Contractor Development Programme has signed contracts with 71 small businesses to do road maintenance in the province. A 172ha business park in Sasolburg which incubates black industrialists is a joint venture between the dtic and Sasol. There are five buildings on the site, training is provided, and companies have access to Sasol’s diverse supply chains. Sasolburg in the northern Free State is a key asset in South Africa’s chemicals industry. 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. 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 ONLINE RESOURCES Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association: Free State Development Corporation: South African Textile Federation: SECTOR INSIGHT The Malutia-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone is attracting investment. Credit: dtic jewellery. 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 Nouwens Carpets and Boxmore Plastics. Boxmore Packaging’s new PET beer bottles are the first PET bottles specifically designed for beer on the SA 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 2022 42

Tourism The Vredefort Dome is to be marketed internationally. Vredefort Dome is the oldest astrobleme ever found. Credit: Francesco Bandarin/UNESCO About 2 000-million years ago a meteorite landed in what is now the Free State. The town of Vredefort is approximately in the middle of the circular area that has been identified as the dome of that meteorite; its diameter is 300km and extends from Johannesburg in the north to Welkom in the south. The core zone is 120km south of Johannesburg on the banks of the Vaal River, and this is the smaller area that has UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The site’s boundaries, which has a radius of 190km, are roughly defined by the roads that link Vredefort, Parys and Potchefstroom. A meteorite impact structure is called an astrobleme and this is the oldest, largest and most deeply eroded such structure ever found. A joint effort to improve and market the area nationally and internationally is underway, involving the Free State tourism authorities, the North West Province, Fezile Dabi District Municipality and the National Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries. Other sites with potential that are the subject of upgrades include the Thaba Nchu Airfield and the Phakisa Raceway in Welkom. The global pandemic closed down the tourism sector and it will take some time to recover. The provincial government provided some relief by earmarking tourism venues as sites for quarantine. Heritage is a sector with growth potential. A Heroes’ Park is to be constructed at Thaba Nchu and Tumahole with statues of Oliver Tambo and Fidel Castro. A museum and statue at ONLINE RESOURCES Bloemfontein Tourism: Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs: Free State Gambling, Liquor and Tourism Authority: SECTOR INSIGHT OVERVIEW Tourism venues were used as quarantine sites during the pandemic. Brandfort to commemorate Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is planned. In 2019 the 88-room Splendid Inn Bloemfontein was opened by Premier Hotels & Resorts. Protea Hotels has four properties in the Free State, two in Bloemfontein, one in Harrismith and the Protea Hotel Clarens. The Tsogo Group’s properties include the four-star Southern Sun Bloemfontein and the Goldfields Casino in Welkom. The City Lodge Bloemfontein has 151 rooms, and there is a Road Lodge at the airport. The Rantsoareng Group operates exclusively in the Free State and has three properties, the biggest of which is the President Hotel in Bloemfontein. Sun International runs the Lesotho Sun and the Maseru Sun in neighbouring Lesotho. In Bloemfontein, the Windmill Casino and Entertainment Centre offers slot machines and gaming tables, plus conference facilities. The four-star Willow Lodge has 80 rooms. The Naledi Sun Hotel and Casino is about 65km from Bloemfontein. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Maluti Mountains is one of South Africa’s great parks. ■ 43 FREE STATE BUSINESS 2022

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