KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL MEC FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOURISM AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS (EDTEA), MR RAVI PILLAY

KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY THE KWAZULU-NATAL MEC FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOURISM AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS (EDTEA), MR RAVI PILLAY ON THE OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF THE NYANZA LIGHT METALS TECHNICAL SERVICES CENTRE AT THE RICHARDS BAY INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ZONE, ON 06 APRIL 2021

Programme Director;

Mayor of King Cetshwayo District Municipality, Cllr Lindo Phungula;

Deputy Mayor of the City of uMhlathuze, Cllr Dudu Sibiya;

Speaker of the City of uMhlathuze, Cllr Silondile Mkhize;

Acting HOD at EDTEA, Mr. Sihle Mkhize;

CEO of Nyanza Light Metals, Mr. Donovan Chimhandamba;

Directors of Nyanza Light Metals;

Representatives of the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Captains of Industry,

Government Officials;

Ladies and gentlemen;

It is an honour to be here today to launch the Nyanza Light Metals Technical Services Centre. I would like to express sincere appreciation to all our special guests that have joined us here today to celebrate and witness the milestones of one of our catalytic projects.

This day is even more important because we all know that the implementation of various projects has stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged global economies.

Most importantly I would like to thank our investors – Nyanza Light Metals and their stakeholders present here today and those connecting virtually for the enduring partnership.

The fact that all of us are here today is testimony to our collective determination to create a prosperous province and country. For us as KwaZulu-Natal this launch could not have come at a more opportune period as it comes when we are shifting to top gear in terms of our economic recovery efforts.

Exactly a week ago we convened a two-day KZN Economic Council Summit which brings us a step closer to the finalisation of our Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan.

The Summit culminated in all social partners – government, labour, civil society and business – signing a social compact which commits all partners to working together towards reigniting the economy of the province with a specific focus on 14 sectors.

I will not go into detail about the commitments for each sector, but allow me to focus briefly on trade and investment. In that regard, as government we have committed that we will:

  • Provide proactive support for committed investments
  • Support investors to diversify and focus on export led investments
  • Link domestic investors with technical partners in key markets
  • Facilitate and incentivize investment in Township and Rural economy.
  • Ensure compliance with country-of-origin labelling
  • Efficient SARS enforcement of regulations at points of entry

As I stand here I want to reaffirm these commitments. As part of that compact we will be establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework because we want to be held accountable. And so this is not just talk but commitments which we are determined to implement.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are working hard to consolidate our position as an investment destination of choice. Part of the work includes identifying and addressing those areas and challenges with a potential to dent our reputation and derail the attraction of investment. Such challenges include corruption, crime, and the supply of energy and water.

We all know that as the province we have been beset by unfortunate events which, in some cases, have resulted in construction of major projects being halted due to actions which can only be described as economic sabotage.

Our position as the provincial government is clear: We support economic transformation as provided for in our legal framework but we will not tolerate any form of criminality irrespective of who is behind it or what banner they hide behind.

Addressing the KZN Economic Council Summit on Thursday last week Premier Sihle Zikalala put it succinctly when he said: “We are working closely with law enforcement agencies and communities to fight crime, including economic sabotage crimes. Working with national government, we are determined to fight those who hijack construction sites and extort bribes. Such actions are not anyway close to the ANC’s interpretation of Radical Economic Transformation”

Ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me that the current administration has put renewed energy into the fight against corruption both in the public and private sectors. We understand that corruption has eroded public trust and undermined investor confidence. We are determined to avert that situation.

We are also scaling up our support to municipalities so that they can effectively address issues related to water and electricity supply. These are economic issues and must be given priority as we embark on the path to economic recovery.

Programme Director, when we assumed this term of office we listed a set of key priorities. At the apex of those was economic growth and job creation. It is therefore encouraging that the construction of over R6 billion investment projects is currently under way on two estates of the RBIDZ – Phase 1A and Phase 1F, one of them being this one of the R4.5 billion titanium dioxide manufacturing plant that we are witnessing today.

Ladies and Gentleman, these 2 projects will create a number of jobs. Nyanza Light Metals alone will create 800 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs during operation whilst also bringing along unique skills that will be transferred to our people.

This Technical Services Centre will play a key role as a semi-production plant that will produce sufficient titanium dioxide pigment volumes for its customers to use in their manufacturing processes, while bulk volumes will be produced by the main production plant coming in the next phases of the project rollout.

This Centre will be complete by the end of the year, paving way for the roll out of the 2nd phase of construction. It is further pleasing that overall the RBIDZ has already signed investments of more than R15 billion representing different key sectors of the economy.

Our message today is that – let us continue to work together, give support to our investors, make them feel safe and put this country on a new trajectory of socio-economic development.

In closing allow me to quote from President Ramaphosa’s speech which he delivered at the opening of the South Africa Investment Conference, held in November 2020.

In that address, the President said: “Time and time again, South Africa has proven its ability to overcome great challenges and emerge stronger. Like the protea that adorns our coat of arms, we have flourished even in the harshest of environments. We have come a long way and we have a long way still to go. Now is the time to grow anew. Now is the time to invest.”

With those words I encourage you to continue investing in the beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal.

I thank you.

About RBIDZ

The RBIDZ is an organisation made up of real people, with a real dedication, and passion to effect real change in South Africa. This commitment and energy is apparent in all dealings with not only each other but with potential investors too.

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