Promotion of Secondary Industrial Development & Clustering in Mpumalanga: stainless steel and chemicals clusters

by ALTMAN, M., MAYER, M., STEYN, G., SLATER, D., GOSTNER, K., LETLAPE, L., DANIELS, R., and Blueprint Strategy & Policy, 2003
Research report, Employment and Economic Policy Research, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria. Prepared for the Department of Economic Affairs, Gaming and Tourism, Mpumalanga Province

“Altman et al. assess the potential for the development of a stainless steel cluster in the Middleburg/ Witbank area and a general petrochemicals cluster in Secunda. They identify concrete opportunities that would provide a platform for the development of small and medium enterprises that will generate employment opportunities. They reveal opportunities for cluster development in the Middleburg/Witbank area extend beyond the current focus on downstream stainless steel fabrication. Its location on the Maputo corridor, together with proximity to Gauteng and the existence of a critical mass of infrastructure and business activity, underpin its potential to become an industrial node in the Mpumalanga province. In contrast, while specific opportunities for sidestream and downstream chemical processing were identified in Secunda, the area’s locational disadvantages render its potential for cluster development questionable. This is because it is too remote from most major markets and its poor transport infrastructure effectively means that firms are unlikely to be competitively positioned to serve markets beyond the local economy, both national and international. There are, however, a range of opportunities to strengthen linkages between SASOL and the local economy through the formation of small and medium enterprises whose focus will be to provide goods and services to SASOL.”