China eyeing R100bn in SA deals can give Limpopo a lifeline

16 July 2018

A massive financial injection involving billions of rands from the People’s Republic of China into the province could provide a major boost for thousands of unemployed Limpopo residents. Premier Stan Mathabatha announced several projects in the province, which will see China pumping more than R100 billion into projects involving power and steel production, as well as a further R3 billion in cement production in Musina, Makhado and Thabazimbi.

Mathabatha led a provincial delegation to China in an endeavour to seal these deals, which he hopes will lead to Limpopo becoming a major economic hub in a few years. “The deal is billed to expand the Musina/Makhado Special Economic Zone (SEZ) mega projects in an effort to fight the ever-escalating poverty and unemployment that has ravaged the people of Limpopo for years,” said Mathabatha.

“The department of trade and industry led a delegation to Beijing in April on a trade and investment mission. This led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Limpopo Economic Development Agency and potential investors hailing from the Shanxi province.

“We are scheduled to visit Shanxi, Henan and Hubei provinces in an endeavour to leverage opportunities and cement economic relations already established since the commencement of this significant joint venture,” said Mathabatha.

“Limpopo is on the verge of commencing with a project worth more than R100 billion on meteorological power and steel production, which is expected to create more than 20 000 permanent jobs,” he said.

The promised economic benefits come months after Statistics South Africa revealed that more than two million people in Limpopo live below the breadline, even though the province was surrounded by the three pillars of the economy: mining, tourism and agriculture.

In April, the Quarterly Labour Force Survey announced the Western Cape, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal had created more jobs than any other province in the country.

Despite this, Stats SA announced that 51% of the population was living in poverty. More than 72% of Limpopo’s residents live under the upper-bound poverty line (UBPL), earning about R992 per month, 57% under the lower-bound poverty line, earning R647 per month, and 40,3% under the food poverty line, earning R440 per month.

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