Reigniting the birthplace of industrialisation in South Africa

The Vaal Special Economic Zone (Vaal SEZ) is intended as a catalytic project to boost economic growth and create jobs in the Vaal region.

The Sedibeng District, host of the proposed Vaal SEZ, comprises three local municipalities and is strategically located both in terms of highways and railways and in relation to three economically-powerful metropolitan municipalities, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane.

A considerable amount of planning has already gone into the concept which ties in to development goals and frameworks at local, regional and national level.

The area

The three local municipalities which make up the Sedibeng District Municipality are predominantly rural.

Midvaal is the most rural of the three local municipalities, with urban development concentrated along routes R59 and R82 in the north-western parts of the municipal area. Midvaal has strong regional linkages to major economic cores.

Lesedi is also primarily rural, with the major urban concentration located in Heidelberg/Ratanda nodes, along the N3 freeway at its intersection with Provincial Route R42, east of the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve.

Heidelberg is the seat of the municipality. Emfuleni in the west is home to the towns synonymous with steel, Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging and the Sasol Petrochemical complex to the south of Sedibeng in the Free State Province.


By 2030, an industrialised, globally competitive, export-driven regional economy.


Our Mission is our tagline: To Reignite the Birthplace of Industrialisation in South Africa.

Key outcomes

  • The Vaal SEZ will leverage existing assets and infrastructure
  • It will pursue opportunities in the green economy, decarbonisation, hydrogen and net-zero emission sectors
  • To become the go-to investment destination
  • To be a multi-tier (multiple sites, multiple sectors), anchor SEZ hub, spatially dispersed within the region
  • To achieve a seamless, integrated, socially-cohesive society, with sustained economic growth and quality jobs for the people of the Vaal region.


The Vaal SEZ Master Plan was completed at the end of June 2022. Site analyses of secured sites has been completed.

A pipeline of firm investment commitments is being established. Township establishment processes will be initiated for land parcels to service current high-priority investors.

The SEZ designation application [will be] submitted by the end of October 2022.

Investor Value Proposition

Enabling framework
  • Strong government support, robust legal and regulatory framework.
  • Strong commercial and significant economic and social returns, including incentives and rebates.
Locational benefit
  • South Africa’s economic hub, sound logistics networks and infrastructure.
Infrastructure services
  • One-stop shop services and the Vaal SEZ’s Shared Services and investor access to serviced land and funding options.
Management capability
  • Independent management body, cooperation between dedicated bodies, local, regional and national government.


Sedibeng District Municipality is traversed by extensive national and provincial major railway and road mobility infrastructure:

    • Route N1: the major national north/south freeway linking Musina at the northern border of South Africa to Cape Town in the south
    • Route N3: the major transport link between Gauteng Province and eThekwini, passes through Sedibeng District’s Lesedi Municipality
    • Route N17: the main link between Johannesburg, Secunda, eSwatini and the Richards Bay harbour
    • Route R103: the old Johannesburg-Durban road runs parallel to Route N3


Two land parcels earmarked by the municipality for SEZ development (one of 20ha and another of 149ha). Access to the N3 to allow good connections to Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal. Three-way collaboration between the Municipality, MTP Aviation Solutions and the Vaal SEZ to widen the SEZ area to include parts of the Heidelberg Aerodrome.


Land has been secured adjacent to the Klipriver Business Park (500ha) with access to the R59 via the R550. Also, 100ha secured next to SA Steel Mill off the Pierneef Road offramp, as well as 9 ha in DeDeur, zoned for agricultural purposes and earmarked for agro-procressing. Council has approved the land classification.


The Emfuleni Local Municipality Council has resolved to make two adjoining land parcels available, totalling 697ha.The site is bordered by the N1 highway and is close to the ArcelorMittal factory. This site is also earmarked for the development of a Hydrogen Valley Concept.