On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to attend the launch of two multibillion-dollar investments in KwaZulu-Natal that were promised during investment summits.

The first is the launch of a new automotive components plant in KwaDukuz, north of Durban, while the second entails a R7.7 billion expansion of Sappi Saicor’s Umkomaas paper mill on the south coast.

The Sappi plant will expand the company’s production of soluble wood pulp, which is used to make synthetic textiles.

Sapi says there is a growing demand for environmentally friendly materials in the textile sector worldwide.

Sappi first announced its Saiccor Mill modernization and expansion project at the 2018 South African Investment Conference, responding to Ramaphosa’s call for domestic and international investment in the South African economy.

Sappi Saiccor’s R7.7 billion modernization and expansion project aims to increase the capacity and global competitiveness of the Sappi Saiccor Mill, as well as create employment opportunities in the short and long term.

Work on the expansion project first began in 2018, but construction was halted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sappi Saiccor Mill is a major player in the KwaZulu-Natal province, contributing more than R6.7 billion annually to the local economy.

The enterprise employs more than 1,200 people and 700 contractors.

Sappi’s operations in KwaZulu-Natal, which include three mills, forestry, sales and export services, contribute R12 billion a year to the province’s economy. This figure increases to 60 billion rand per year when indirect benefits are taken into account.

Electrical systems of the car

The new 35,000-hectare plant in KwaDukuza will create 4,000 new jobs in the production of electrical wiring systems and instruments for Toyota, Isuzu, Nissan and Ford vehicles.

The facility is one of five capital investment projects that form part of Metair Investments Limited’s 1.4 billion rand commitment to support the expansion and localization of the new Ford Ranger.

Metair Investments was established in 1948 to serve the needs of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive component sector and exports products to approximately 46 countries.

Equity Metair Investments has 14 subsidiaries, eight of which are based in South Africa, with KZN having the largest number of employees.

Over the course of the project, about 3,000 contractor jobs were created, employing more than 2,500 local residents.

A permanent community skills center has been established at the plant and around R150 million has been invested in opportunities to develop local businesses and suppliers. The project also provides for a 9% increase in permanent staff at the enterprise.

South African Investment Conference

Ramaphosa’s involvement in this key investment marks the fulfillment of pledges made by industrialists at the South African Investment Conference.

The government welcomed the investment as an expected contribution to South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery efforts and a confirmation of South Africa’s position as an investment destination for domestic and international businesses.

VIDEO: 4th South African Investment Conference in March:

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