Citibank South Africa last week signed an MoU with South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), pledging R1,38 billion in investment in the new 1 200-hectare “Vaal River City’, which will comprise an international airport, logistics, manufacturing and agricultural hubs, and retail, leisure and residential facilities close to Vereeniging.
"This is a massive infrastructure project. The timing of the airport itself will depend on a few things: the zoning, the licensing, the authority for the port. But a lot of work has gone into this. A lot of those [things] are being finalised. We are making an application for a special economic zone (SEZ), which will encompass this area that the airport will be built in," said Citibank SA’s Country Officer, Peter Taylor, at the media briefing. He added that the development could catalyse as much as R30bn in additional investment.
FEDHASA Chair, Rosemary Anderson, said the aerotropolis would stimulate the area’s economic growth.
“This is exactly what the Vaal region needed – a catalyst that will finally unlock the region’s potential as both a major tourism player as well as capitalise on the many other industries that will benefit from an aerotropolis,” Anderson said, highlighting the attractiveness of the region as a destination.
“The Vaal River has unlimited potential. Already one can play at a number of golf courses on the banks of the river and be transported between them by River Taxi. Where else can you do that in South Africa? We have something unique in the Vaal, and the aerotropolis will bring the necessary focus on the Vaal to finally unlock its potential.”
DTIC Deputy Minister Fikile Majola said the initial phase of the implementation of the proposed Vaal SEZ was anchored by two investment projects valued at R5,6bn, including a solid oxide fuel cell manufacturing facility and an LPG gas cylinder manufacturing facility.
Once completed, the aerotropolis project will be valued at around R11 billion.