Devlopment body drowns with R 200m

Chris Hattingh MPL

DA Provincial leader North West

The province’s ambitious industrial development zone has finally closed shop.

A decision was taken in 2010 to wind down operations of the Mahikeng Industrial Development Zone (Midz) after it became a financial liability.

It was established in 2001 by then premier Popo Molefe. It was tasked with building an industrial hub that would result in the creation of 28000 jobs by 2008. It was supposed to make full use of the Mahikeng Airport, which has the longest runway in South Africa, and make it an international port of entry.

However, nothing materialised – despite the MIDZ pumping a staggering R200m into water and infrastructure on land it did not own.

The company was also rocked by poor financial governance. It received disclaimers and adverse reports from the auditor-general for years on end and chief executive Tebogo Kebotlhale’s contract was terminated in March. He was suspended at the time.

A source privy to the winding-down process said: “MIDZ is no longer registered as a viable company. Its staff complement of four managers and six junior staff has been seconded to the North West Development Corporation (NWDC) since October 1.

“The intention on the part of the provincial government is to merge the former MIDZ, NWDC and another entity, the Invest North West, into one.

“The R200m infrastructure will now go to the public works department. The entity had endemic problems like poor financial controls, that necessitated its winding down,” the source said.

DA provincial leader Chris Hattingh said the MIDZ was doomed to fail because it had been conceived by the personal egos of politicians in the ANC.

“That is why millions of rands were wasted, including a million a month subsidy to an airline to artificially maintain daily flights between OR Tambo Airport and Mahikeng Airport,” he said.

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