Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza has applauded two big companies resident in the province, Hydra-Arc which specialises in welding, and the country's integrated mining, gas, oil and chemicals company, Sasol, that their partnership has obvious economic spinoffs for local people.
The Premier's remarks follows a successful completion of a development project embarked upon by a Secunda based welding company, Hydra-Arc, which fabricated and delivered a high pressure vessel to Sasol.
The intended manufacturing of six high pressure vessels locally is confirmed to have saved Sasol billions of Rands which could have been spent offshore.
The first 485 ton "Bullet" to be constructed in the southern hemisphere was only released and delivered to Sasol yesterday Wednesday, 13 February 2013. It was produced by the local workforce from and around Secunda.
Escorted by heavy security personnel to Sasol's site, the vessel which is 60m long with a total height of 9m, was branded with South African flags and those of the two companies and its welding consumables utilised were locally supplied.
Premier Mabuza said the country witnessed a "significant milestone" by Mpumalanga as the vessel was also manufactured by people from the province.
"It is our belief that this gesture will bring confidence to other potential investors that our province is a wonderful place where anybody can come in and contribute to the development and advancement of our beautiful country.
"This commitment demonstrates loyalty and belief in our people by these investors. We are very much proud to be associated with Hydra-Arc and Sasol as their partnership does not necessarily benefit them only, but to a large extent our people whose lives have changed for the better.
"This is a historic moment for our country that in the province of the rising sun, we are able to produce a vessel that has never been produced in the whole of the southern hemisphere. Indeed we are setting a tone for other countries who may want to walk a similar path," said Mabuza.
The Premier added that such investment contributed in the fight against unemployment and poverty as Hydra Arc employed approximately 800 people since its inception in 1988. The company has also employed deaf people who are artisans.
"As a provincial government, we regard this success by Hydra-Arc as a national achievement because it states clearly that we have talent in our yard, all that is necessary is to invest greatly on skills development and do more wonders," said Mabuza.
Hydra-Arc's CEO Jan Maswanganyi explained that it was their largest project and his company was now ranked amongst the best in the world in respect of size and the quality of the vessel.
"In the past, projects of this nature were awarded offshore and our company can now ensure that this spend is retained in South Africa. This has beneficial spinoffs for our communities, both locally and nationally.
"As a company, we have a responsibility to our nation to ensure job creation, local employment opportunities and to instil national pride in all that we do.
"It is not only what the country can do for its people, but also what people can do for their country. We salute the customers, suppliers, bankers and our own people that believed in us and put their trust in us, without them, this would not have been possible," said Mr Maswanganyi.
According to Maswanganyi, his company was intending to create a further 450 new jobs over the next three years.
He also announced their plan to establish the largest artisan academy in the country with the hope that when fully operational, the new academy would accommodate at least 1 000 artisan trainees each year.
"In this way, we aim to directly address the critical skills shortage in our industry and I appeal to all South African companies and our political leadership to actively support this initiative.
"This milestone and the successful completion of this project stand as clear proof that we can achieve anything if we work together," said Mr Maswanganyi.
The vessel has a total capacity of 1 642 500 litres.