Consideration of Report of PC on Trade, Industry and Competition on Study Visit to the Republic of Korea
ACDP MP, Wayne Thring

Issued by the ACDP Parliamentary Media Office

ACDP says Special Economic Zone programme falling far short of its intended purpose

Nov 10, 2023

“Honourable House Chairperson,

The ACDP wishes to acknowledge the behind-the-scenes work done by our Committee Chairperson, the Honourable Hermans, in ensuring that as many political party members were able to attend as possible, thus ensuring a multi-party delegation was present. Outside of austerity measures, this should be the benchmark for all portfolio committees.

The ACDP notes that our Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Programme, as part of the Reimagined Industrial Strategy, was purposed to stimulate local and foreign direct investment, but worryingly, is falling far short of its intended purpose, as acknowledged in this report with the admission that our manufacturing base is in decline. This stands in stark contrast to the FEZ’s in South Korea, which serve as a catalyst for industrialisation and economic growth.

Although South Korea is not a naturally resource rich country, it focused on exporting value-added goods. In 1961, some of the major exports were silk, tungsten, squid and fish. Some thirty years later, in 1993, their major export items were electronics, steel products, automobiles, and ships, despite not being naturally endowed with raw material as is the case in South Africa. This is a good example of the implementation and execution of good economic and industrial policies.

An economic marvel or miracle took place in South Korea, where in the 1960’s it was an agrarian society, with farmers making up 70% of the population. The export-focused, market-friendly industrial policies, the development of human capital, respect for science and technology, and strong governance were the main drivers of South Korea’s economic success in the 1960s.

In accepting this report, the ACDP calls on the Minister to implement the recommendations which include:

  1. Engaging with the relevant Ministries for the development of a government-led vocational training strategy to ensure the supply of sector-specific skills that would drive industrialisation.
  2. Engaging institutions of higher learning, both locally and internationally, in conjunction with the relevant Ministries, to encourage the establishment of satellite campuses and/or programmes within Special Economic Zones to support sector-specific skills development for each Special Economic Zone.
  3. Promoting public-private partnerships in the ownership and/or management of Special Economic Zones and its enabling infrastructure, such as for water, energy, and waste management.

I thank you.”

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