South Africa: High-Voltage Plant to Grow E Cape's Economy

A R135 Million High voltage power cable investment in Port Elizabeth is set to help expand the economy of the Eastern Cape while also bumping up the number of the country's high-voltage plants to three.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel recently launched the Aberdare Cables high voltage power cables plant.

The Minister said the plant's location in Port Elizabeth emphasises the role that manufacturing continues to play in the country and the Eastern Cape economy.

The new high-voltage plant is located in a new part of the factory complex. This expansion will give an opportunity for additional jobs.

Prior to the launch, there had only been two high-voltage power plants on the continent with one located in Egypt and the other in Gauteng.

Speaking at the launch, Patel said Aberdare Cables' parent company Hengtong, a major Chinese cable manufacturing company, had a much more ambitious investment plan of about R1 billion that it wanted to invest to modernise and strengthen its operations in South Africa, including that of the building of a fibre optic plant.

The investment will create 58 jobs in addition to the 429 jobs that Aberdare Cables created in its Port Elizabeth operations to date, at both plant and commercial levels.

"The Investment was made possible by Government's decision to designate power cables as a product that all government agencies must buy locally. To date, there has been one company producing high-voltage cables locally and the opening of the new plant will introduce competition in the market. It provides the industrial capacity as we ready for the African Continental Free Trade Area," said the Minister.

Minister Patel noted that Aberdare's investment impacted positively on the six key priorities that have been identified for the new department that is being created through the merger of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and the Economic Development Department.

"The new department which will be named the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition will pursue six core objectives: support expansion of industrial production in South Africa, open up new markets for local products in other export markets, increase the levels of investment, address economic inclusion and transformation, ensure equitable spatial economic development across the entirety of the country and build a capable state."

On Thursday, Cabinet welcomed investments into various sectors of the South African economy.

Recent investments made into the South Africa follow on the American automaker Ford's recent announcement that it will be creating 1 200 jobs at its plant in Pretoria.

Ford announced that its expansion plans will create 1 200 jobs, based on implementing a R3 billion investment commitment.

In the same vein, the R50 million investment by manufacturing company BFG Rail into an advanced manufacturing facility in Gauteng will result in a state-of-the-art composite manufacturing facility which boasts improved engineering processes using advanced technologies.

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