R6, 5 billion-investment - to bridge the gap between communities and prosperity
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube has welcomed the announcement of R6, 5 billion investment into Richards Bay by Rio Tinto. She believes that such an investment will bridge the gap between communities and prosperity. The announcement was made during the South African Investment Conference convened by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Rio Tinto's Vice-President: Corporate Relations Europe, Middle East and Africa - Lawrence Dechambenoit committed the world's largest mining giant to continuing investing in KwaZulu-Natal Province given favourable conditions for investment.
Reacting to the announcement during the investment conference, Nomusa Dube-Ncube remarked in her capacity as Leader of Government Business: "Few weeks ago, both our President and the Premier Sihle Zikalala reiterated our commitment as government to usher in a new era of prosperity."
"Critically, when addressing the captains of industry during the launch of District Service Delivery Model few weeks ago in Durban, the President emphasized the importance of directing developments in different corners of this province. With this investment by Rio Tinto, we have no doubt that more jobs will be created. We currently have 2.635 million people employed in our province, compared to 2.536 million people at the same time last year. We are committed to building a strong economy and ensuring the creation of more jobs."
Dube-Ncube further added: "During the investment conference, we received enquiries from potential investors. This is due to the fact that we have established Invest SA One Stop Shops in our Special Economic Zones - Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone and Dube Trade Port. The One-Stop Shops have South African Revenue Services, Home Affairs and other government entities under one roof. We have created these to make it easier for a potential investor to register and do business in KZN."
She revealed that the province's SEZs have already attracted a combined investment of more than R20 billion. "Over the next few weeks I will be meeting with the management of Nyanza Light Metals to receive progress report on their investment of R4.5 billion in a chemical plant which produces titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigment from titaniferous slag and acid. This plant has been allocated 65 hectares of land within the RBIDZ Phase 1F estate. It will create 800 jobs during construction and 300 direct permanent jobs during operations. The phase 1 of the construction is projected to start in the next few months"
An upbeat Dube-Ncube added: "I have also met with the management of world renowned largest Oil Palm Refinery Wilmar with operations in Indonesia, East Malaysia and some parts of Africa. We have doubled our efforts to ensure the provision of bulk infrastructure - electricity and water - in order to pave way for the construction of the plant. Wilmar has committed to invest R1, 3 billion in this plant to be located in our RBIDZ. It will have facilities for the refining, manufacturing, processing, storage, packing and handling of edible oils."
She concluded: "In all of this, we have agreed with Wilmar that in a long run - communities will supply raw materials produced in villages and that communities will be an integral part of the operation to ensure the redistribution of wealth. This will be a long-term partnership that will benefit both communities and the company."
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs