Forestry Technology Park

Michele du Plessis

On August 8th, 2017, the bids closed for the establishment of a Forestry Industrial Technology Park within Thaba Chweu Local Municipality (TCLM), more importantly, Sabie.

The Mpumalanga Economic Growth and Development Plan (MEGDP) was created by the Mpumalanga Government to drive the objectives of the National Development Plan. The primary objective of the MEGDP is to foster economic growth that creates jobs, reduce poverty and inequality in the province. It involves the expansion of the industrial base of the Province through beneficiation, agro-processing, development of value chains and enhancing the role of small businesses. It is intended to create conditions for an inclusive economy that will produce decent jobs and sustainable livelihoods.

The Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDT) is currently busy with the implementation of the MIDP roadmap, and the feasibility study of the Forestry Industrial Technology Park (FIT Park) has been concluded with a positive business case. DEDT is now undertaking the establishment of the FIT Park.

“These will be supported by the proposed South African Forestry Technology Centre, aimed at promoting beneficiation of forestry resources through technical training, R&D and technical services.” State of the Province Address by Premier DD Mabuza – 26.02.16. “The Department of Economic Development and Tourism of the Mpumalanga Provincial Government (MPG) have compiled a feasibility study for the development of a Forestry park in Sabie, which indicated that it was feasible. The Business Case identified the following various potential opportunities within the timber value chain including light industry, research, training, forestry services, business incubation etc. MPG have approached SAFCOL to participate in the Techno Park, both as an anchor tenant, and in the project management of the project.” Information: Safcol Request for Proposal for Sabie Sawmill.

“We are happy to report that SAFCOL has made a commitment to collaborate with the Province to establish the Forestry Technology Park in Sabie. Thaba Chweu municipality has committed to making land available for this initiative,” said Premier DD Mabuza.

The Forestry Technology Park in Sabie will comprise of an Industrial Park that will house existing and new enterprises and a Wood SMME Incubator. These will be supported by the proposed South African Forestry Technology Centre, aimed at promoting beneficiation of forestry resources through technical training, R&D and technical services.

In the scope of the work, the service provider will be responsible for working collaboratively with the Department and other key stakeholders to obtain the required statutory approvals to allow the development of the FIT Park.

The key activities will be:

  • Lodge a comprehensive formal Town Establishment application with TCLM;
  • Conduct the required surveying work to lodge the Town Establishment application and to obtain approval for the General Plan as well as the opening of the Township Register;
  • Compile and submit the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the land in question (middle of site coordinates: 25˚ 4’48.83”S, 30˚ 48’8.72”E) and obtain the required Record of Decision (ROD) for the envisaged development;
  • Compile and submit the Heritage Impact Report and the required specialist studies, such as Traffic Impact Assessment and Services Agreement with TCLM.

In a telephonic conversation with Danie Krynauw, Green-Box Consulting, Integrated Environmental Management, Krynauw said that the Scoping Report for this development should be completed before the end of the month. “I believe that small, approved industries will be established in the zoned areas. The total area is approximately 200 hectares and the zoned areas will be supplied with the necessary services, such as water and electricity.”

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