The East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) wishes to congratulate Dräger Safety Zenith (Pty) Ltd on their arrival in the Zone and expresses appreciation for the financial commitment to the tune of R135 million that they have made into the ELIDZ. This, coupled with a cash injection of R81 million from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) invested towards the building of the factory amounts to a combined value of R216 million.
On Wednesday, 17 August 2022, the Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane along with multiple dignitaries including the MEC for Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), Mr Mlungisi Mvoko, Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality Executive Mayor, Councillor Xola Pakati, Dräger Executive Management, ELIDZ Board and Executive Management led by Professor Mlungisi Makalima and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Simphiwe Kondlo, attended the official launch of the new state-of-the-art facility which was held at the ELIDZ.
Dräger Safety Zenith (Pty) Ltd was established in 2004 and is responsible for the manufacturing of safety and medical equipment including dust masks utilised by mining houses, construction companies and wholesale This is the only manufacturing plant Dräger has in the entire continent and will manufacture products and not just efficiently support their local existing clients but also aggressively grow their market footprint and export their product into the African continent.
The new facility in ELIDZ has seen the introduction of new technology in their manufacturing processes as well as the doubling of their production capability – from two to six manufacturing lines. The Dräger Safety Zenith (Pty) Ltd new facility is as a result of the growing demand of their product both domestically and abroad.
Delivering his keynote address, Mr Mabuyane commended the Dräger Executive Management for choosing to locate their new facility within the ELIDZ in light of the province’s ongoing struggles with high unemployment rates, particularly among young people.
“This investment comes with a huge benefit to our province as it will be creating 96 direct employment opportunities. The 96 people will be able to put food on the table, take care of their families and call Dräger their place of employment. For that, we will forever be grateful to this company for not only choosing the Eastern Cape but choosing East London as their preferred place of location,” Mr Mabuyane added.
The Premier continued by saying that the South African government is dedicated to fostering environments that are favourable for local businesses to thrive because through those businesses, the country is able to directly address socioeconomic concerns.
Furthermore, the Premier added that: “The recently released country’s investment strategy pointed out that the Eastern Cape is becoming more concentrated. Like many other national and global regional economies, this reflects the growing need for investments diversification. It is therefore important to note this investment as a key investment in line with the need to diversify investment within our province.”
Meanwhile, the ELIDZ CEO, Mr Kondlo, stated that the organisation is indeed thrilled to be welcoming this investment by Dräger and thrilled to be part of the impact that it will make into the economy of the Eastern Cape region.
“As the ELIDZ we are very excited to be opening a world-class facility on our platform. What excites us the most is the nature of this operation because it adds to our diversification outside of the automotive sector. Part of our mandate that we were given by the provincial government is to make sure that there is diversification in the economy of the Eastern Cape, which is what we are striving towards,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of Dräger, Mr Reinhold Eisenbarth, the Global Marketing Manager, stated that he has had the pleasure of being able to witness the company grow from strength to strength, expanding their markets, and being the renowned company that it is today, tasked with the responsibility of producing lifesaving equipment.
“With this plant we are demonstrating that Dräger continues to invest into Africa. This goes along with further expansion of our footprint in Africa, where we will open new regional support centres soon in Western Africa and Eastern Africa.”
Mr Eisenbarth also made mention of what this expansion meant to Dräger in terms of production success. “With our new manufacturing plan, we will also be prepared for future pandemics. We will have 11 automatic production lines in the country with the possibility of further expansion, with that equating to a 400% increase in the production capacity,” he concluded.
Mr Mvoko stated that the company’s achievements that were highlighted at the launch demonstrate their dedication to the Eastern Cape.
“The current situation that we find ourselves in now requires a collaborative effort between government and the private sector so that we can make a meaningful impact in the fight against poverty, inequality, and unemployment. It is appropriate to thank Dräger for the confidence that they have shown to the Eastern Cape. I know for sure that you will not regret your decision for locating in the ELIDZ, as this is a world class SEZ with reliable infrastructure and the best post investment support,” he added.
In his conclusion, Mr Mvoko pointed out that the investment that has been made will go a long way in developing the economy of the Eastern Cape.
Issued by the ELIDZ
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Mr Sibusiso Ralarala
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