Special Economic Zones in South Africa: Lessons for further development

Policy Brief no. 5 – October 2018

In 2018 South Africa reaffirmed its support for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) by approving the preferential tax treatment status of SEZs. South Africa has run a number of industrial development programmes such as Industrial Development Zones (IDZ) since 2000, however, the ongoing efforts have not yet been fully actualised. With new supportive fiscal incentives for businesses in SEZs, the South African government aims to revive industrialisation and to promote inclusive development. Dube in KwaZulu-Natal and Coega in the Eastern Cape have a relatively long history of operation and investors are already active in these zones. Despite excitement around new government support, challenges experienced in the zones have been identified through interviews with stakeholders. By examining the most common challenges, further policy and systematic development will become possible. In this way lessons can be learned and used in the newly launched zones such as the Atlantis SEZ in the Western Cape and other zones in South Africa and beyond. [Continue reading]