WATCH: How OR Tambo SEZ Clusters are promoting reindustrialisation of the SA economy



Published Sep 2, 2022


Jozi – the economic heart of South Africa. A city of vibrant energy and ambitious go-getters; of big business and dynamic entrepreneurs hungry to take advantage of opportunities for economic activity and participation in global markets.

GIDZ facilitates global growth opportunities

The OR Tambo Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which forms part of the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone (GIDZ), is an economic development programme focussed on creating global growth opportunities, with tax incentives and ease of access for international exports and investments.

With an emphasis on jewellery manufacturing, health and pharmaceutical products, electronics, and fresh food products, the SEZ is designed to drive beneficiation and global competitiveness as a mechanism for inclusive socio-economic growth and transformation in South Africa.

The most established of the precincts to date is the precious metals cluster - and it was here that SAINC met an array of inspiring entrepreneurs and got to see their dynamic businesses in action. These included Nonthando Molefe from Phatsima Jewellers, who is using the opportunities provided by the SEZ to grow her business globally; Kealeboga and Ursula Pule, who are building Nungu diamonds with resilient determination; and Thoko Zwane, who started out as a polisher and has built a million-dollar family business.

Fuel cells are another new and exciting opportunity being pursued as part of the SEZ. With the rapid growth of the green energy industry, green hydrogen is fast becoming a big business driver - and this green hydrogen relies on South African-based platinum group metals. SAINC also met Vinay Somera and Sakib Khan to get a sense of how Isondo Precious Metals is working through the SEZ to drive this high tech innovation into full-scale manufacturing. The company is also creating a core of graduate interns with the skills to go out and do this in the real world and develop an industry that creates new jobs, new revenue streams and helps the South African economy to re-industrialise.

The citizens of Gauteng and South Africa are ambitious for growth - and the OR Tambo SEZ demonstrates government’s responsibility and commitment to work with the private sector to deliver on that promise.


Nonthando Molefe from Phatsima Jewellers graduated from the SEZ Design @50 Skills Studio, where she learnt about international commercial jewellery. She has since been able to grow her business to take full advantage of the world’s interest in African luxury.

‘Nungu’ in Swahili means porcupine - a small but resilient animal. Kealeboga Pule compares this to being young and black in the diamond industry in South Africa. He spoke about the joy he gets from working with diamonds and how it allows him to walk the journey of love with his clients. He also recounted the expansion opportunities that being part of the SEZ brings, and shared his dreams and vision for the future of Nungu Diamonds.

Thoko Zwane started out as a polisher while she built the capital she needed to start Thoko Diamonds. Now, partnering with her son, Zwane’s hard work has turned her humble start and passion into a million dollar business - and sown the seeds of a family legacy for generations to come. She sees the SEZ as an opportunity to mentor and grow the capability and skills of young black women in this largely male-dominated industry.

Vinay Somera and Sakib Khan are executives at Isondo Precious Metals. Part of the metals beneficiations cluster at the SEZ, their company is not about luxury jewellery but rather about taking full advantage of the global shift towards green energy. Green hydrogen, which is reliant on South African-based platinum group metals, presents a significant business opportunity. This fuel cell technology also has the ability to create new jobs and revenue streams for the South African economy, and Isondo is training a core of graduate interns with the skills needed to direct the industry globally.

Watch all the SAINC GIDZ stories here.