The OR Tambo International Airport SEZ is ideally placed to promote investment, increase employment and spur economic growth

The OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) special economic zone (SEZ) is a multi-site programme licensed to the Gauteng IDZ Development Company (GIDZ), an entity set up through the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency to oversee the SEZ’s development and operations.

In April 2019, development of the OR Tambo SEZ gained significant traction with the opening of a food and refrigeration facility that is home to the second-largest refrigeration plant in the world and the largest food factory of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The R400 million facility, which is the outcome of a partnership with premium food supplier, In2Food, sits on 3.5 ha of land located on the northern part of what is referred to as ORTIA Precinct 1.

Through this partnership, the export of fresh food products via OR Tambo International will be increased. A further 600 new jobs will also be created, resulting in increased benefits not just to the country’s export revenue but much-needed employment as well.

Construction of a Jewellery Manufacturing Precinct (JMP), to be located on the remaining 4 ha of land on the southern part of ORTIA Precinct 1, is planned for roll-out by the end of 2019. Full operation of this precinct is envisaged by early 2021.

Local and international jewellery and diamond companies have already signed up to be part of this bold R500 million initiative by the Gauteng IDZ to champion the development of a globally competitive precinct that supports the manufacturing and export of mineral products from SA. It is the objective of the Gauteng IDZ to also position the JMP as the ‘go-to’ mineral beneficiation location in Africa.

To further support the establishment of a jewellery and diamond cluster at ORTIA Precinct 1, key regulatory entities such as the South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator and the State Diamond Trader will also be housed at the precinct. The presence of these agencies will ensure that beneficiating companies have access to the required regulatory support within a clustered environment that allows them to take advantage of SEZ opportunities and operational efficiencies.

The OR Tambo International Airport SEZ is a multi-site programme

The OR Tambo SEZ currently consists of three designated land parcels – a 7.5 ha piece of land referred to as ORTIA Precinct 1 and located inside the property boundaries of OR Tambo International; a 29 ha land parcel that is referred to as ORTIA Precinct 2 and is located adjacent to Precinct 1; as well as a 14 ha land parcel located next to the Impala Platinum refinery in Springs.

Together, these land parcels presently make up the land to be developed under the Gauteng IDZ, a company whose strategic intent is to attract both domestic and foreign direct investment for the establishment of manufacturing operations that seek to promote the export of valued-added products through OR Tambo International.

Located at or in close proximity to ORTIA, the value proposition of the SEZ Ekurhuleni Precincts is centred around the service offering of the airport. 
OR Tambo International remains the largest airport in Africa, with approximately 21 million passengers passing through the airport per annum. This is 3.7 million more than Cairo International Airport, which comes in second place.

The airport is also the largest air cargo hub in Africa, handling 77% of the country’s air-cargo volume, with a total of 387 277 tons. These attributes make the OR Tambo International Airport SEZ ideal for the manufacturing and export of products that move via air freight (also defined as high-value lightweight or low mass). These include perishables (such as fresh food and medicines); mineral products (such as jewellery, diamonds, fuel cells and other PGM value-added products); and advanced component manufacturing (such as electronics).

Local and international jewellery and diamond companies have signed up to be part of the jewellery Manufacturing Precinct initiative

Being located in Ekurhuleni, the SEZ is also at the centre of the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis, a 1 975 km² urban development plan with ORTIA at its heart. The goal of the aerotropolis is to create a range of economic hubs, catering to different manufacturing industries. This goal supports the legislative and policy framework within which the Gauteng IDZ operates – in support of the country’s SEZ programme aimed at promoting investment in manufacturing, an increase in jobs and economic growth as well as technology enhancement.

As a designated SEZ and approved customs-controlled area, the OR Tambo International Airport SEZ will offer investors access to a suite of incentives packaged by national government for companies looking to set up manufacturing operations to increase exports.
The incentives include, among others, VAT and customs relief in accordance with the current VAT and customs legislation; employment tax incentives that reduce the PAYE payable by an employer located in a customs-controlled area; a reduced corporate income tax rate; and an accelerated building depreciation allowance.

In addition, the Gauteng IDZ will – once construction at ORTIA Precinct 1 is fully complete – also have a functional one-stop shop, which will provide establishment support services to investors. These include support with company registration; how to access the available incentives; and how to contribute to and support other national imperatives, such as skills and SME development.

Opportunities for investment at ORTIA Precinct 2 as well as at the Springs Precinct, where a focused PGM SEZ will be established, are available.

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