Research to probe regional economy
VANDERBIJLPARK – The Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU) together with the Sedibeng District Council is undertaking an initiative to investigate the prospect of secondary industrial development in the Vaal Triangle.
The proposed industrial development will be focused on the promotion of economic clusters within the Vaal economy. The research programme recently got a boost in funding when industrial giant, Malesela Taihan Electric Cable (M-Tec), made a substantial contribution to the project. By contributing R100 000 towards the project, M-Tec reaffirmed their commitment to corporate social investment.
The research probe comes after the relatively slow growth, limited structural change and high unemployment and poverty levels that have characterized the economy of the region since 1994. According to the project team, led by Dr Wynand Grobler and Mr Leonard van Vuren – both from the Vaal Triangle Campus of the NWU – the current economic state of the region can probably be attributed to the dominance of resource-based economic activity characterized by the presence of large capital-intensive firms with limited linkages within the Vaal Triangle economy.
The objective of the proposed research initiative will be to assess and determine the potential for the development of a steel cluster in the Vaal region which will directly impact on the economy. According to Dr Grobler, the central challenge will be to identify concrete opportunities that would provide a platform for the development of SMMEs (small, medium and micro enterprises) that will generate employment opportunities.
Present during the handing over of the R100 000 were, from left: Dr Wynand Grobler (School of Economic Sciences, Vaal Triangle Campus), Mr June-Young Hah (M-Tec) and Mr Tielman Slabbert (School of Economic Sciences, Vaal Triangle Campus).