The newly revitalised Phuthaditjhaba Industrial Park should be used to inspire confidence in the South African economy, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said on Tuesday.
"We are here on the backdrop of the Investment Summit, which confirmed the confidence that the local private sector and multi-nationals have in South Africa. We therefore need to take advantage of these Industrial Parks to increase investment and create sustainable employment," said Magwanishe.
The Deputy Minister was speaking at the launch of the first phase of the revitalised R50 million industrial park held at the Phuthaditjhaba Multi-Purpose Centre in QwaQwa.
Magwanishe also noted that there is hope for the South African economy and that signifies hope for the people.
"As we are to embark on phase two of the revitalisation programme, upon its completion we must be able to tell a story that, we have decreased the vacancy rate which currently stands at 40% and the employment rate which currently stands at 7518 has been hugely increased."
He said the revitalisation is intended to respond to unemployment in the province and should also be explored to benefit not just the province, but the entire country.
Magwanishe said the province is strategic in many respects, most important being that it connects to six provinces and is the neighbour to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
The Deputy Minister urged the Free State Development Corporation to woo in other Small Medium and Micro-Sized Enterprises (SMMEs) to consider setting up shop in the park, thereby helping to "drastically" reduce unemployment which is very high in the area.
Magwanishe also called for the revitalised park to be properly maintained.
"For this year Minister Rob Davies announced that R216 million has been set aside for the revitalisation of industrial parks. Phuthaditjhaba is one of the five industrial parks that stand to benefit, as we will be proceeding with the other phases of revitalisation."
"Today we recognise the completion of the first phase of the programme in this industrial park, which was realised through an allocation of R50 million. This launch follows the completion of the first phase of the Botshabelo Industrial Park also here in the Free State," said Magwanishe.
Work done at the park comprised of the upgrading of the security infrastructure including fencing, street lighting, installation of boom gates, pedestrian gates, installation of CCTV cameras and control room, as well as the refurbishment of high mast lights.
Free State MEC for Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Limakatso Mahasa, urged black industrialists in the province to take up opportunities presented to them by the government.
The MEC also appealed to them to work with government to ensure that much needed jobs are created.
Tuesday's launch is a collaboration between the dti, Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), Free State Development Corporation (FDC), as well as the Thabo Mofutsanyane District and Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipalities.