Eastern Cape Economic Development and Tourism MEC, Oscar Mabuyane  says plans are afoot to make Mthatha the province’s economic hub. He was speaking at a roundtable discussion on progress made to start construction on the Wild Coast Special Economic Zone.

The project will include food processing businesses and commercial farming. Mabuyane says it will create hundreds of jobs for people in the province.

“This areas actually accommodate around 3 million people who literally contribute massively to people living in these areas looking for jobs in other provinces. We want out people to remain here, to be developed where they are. We have an opportunity to do so. We are looking at all possible avenues in government, provincially, working with local government as well as nationally – developing our investment book that must talk across the province.”

By June next year, construction will have started on the Wild Coast Special Economic Zone in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.

The hub will be built in two phases – at Mthatha Airport and Ncise Village.  This emerged at a discussion in Mthatha to report on the progress on the project’s progress.

Following success of Coega and IDZ, the Eastern Cape is pursuing construction of another economic hub. The new economic zone will include commercial businesses, food processing businesses and storage.

This special economic zone is expected to contribute to economic growth, create jobs and allow local land owners to receive rental money and concessions.

“We are broadening economic scale this areas has 3 million and it should drive economy and be economic hub of the province,” says Mabuyane.

“We are broadening economic scale this areas has 3 million and it should drive economy and be economic hub of the province”.

“We are glad that this was a cabinet resolution to focus on the eastern part of the province for development. Our people have been excluded economically and now they will benefit immensely,” OR Tambo District Mayor, Nomakhosazana Meth.

The shopping for investors is under way. “We are in processing zone. We want to ensure this becomes the best business. This will consists of food processing business and food storage business because currently products travels longer distance and are processed elsewhere,” says Thami Klassen DTI Special Economy Zone Director

Locals will be the main benefactors.

“We welcome the investment made in our village we wish to be supported by government. So we can expand and become investors as well someday,” says Community Project Chairperson, Mlungisi Ndobeni.

The Economic Development department made a clarion call to local municipalities to spend allocated budgets to fast track development.