National and Eastern Cape provincial governments jointly announced the combined R502 million investment into the East London Special Economic Zone (ELSEZ).
The Deputy Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Bulelani Magwanishe and Eastern Cape MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT), Mr Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane jointly announced two new local investors, Meek Mines SA and Nulatex SA. The ELSEZ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Simphiwe Kondlo welcomed the investment saying it will create a total of 450 jobs for the locals.
Diamond cutting and polishing Investment
Meek Mines South Africa Pty Ltd, which is a 100% black-owned company, which cuts and polish diamonds mined in Africa sourced from within the continent for supply to both the domestic and foreign markets, will be investing R423 million investment into the Eastern Cape economy. Meek will export 80% of its product to Belgium and the Middle East while the remainder will be supplied to the local jewellery industry. The company has taken over an existing facility within the East London IDZ and is placed within the General Manufacturing sector, which includes diamond cutting and beneficiation. Meek plans to create 150 jobs over a five-year period beginning in 2019.
Condom Manufacturing Investment
Nulatex Condoms South Africa, a 100% black owned pharmaceutical company which will be manufacturing male and female condoms and other latex products from a facility in Zone 1 A of the East London IDZ, is investing R79 million into the provincial economy and plans to create 300 direct jobs beginning 2019. This first investor in the East London SEZ’s pharmaceutical cluster has already signed an offtake agreement with the Provincial Department of Health for the supply of their latex products.
The half a billion local investment is tipped to unlocking the economic potential of the province and skew the scales in favour socio-economic development in Buffalo City Metropolitan region over the next five years.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said a success story to this initiative is the empowerment of people, through employment, access to the opportunities and skills development. “The dti, through the SEZ Fund, has funded the Zone with R568 million for the development of Phase 1. This will go towards the expansion of the Automotive Supplier Park. Even more significant is the fact that the new construction projects will benefit Black Owned Enterprises”, said Magwanishe.
Magwanishe added that as the dti they recognise the elevation of human capital and value that the Special Zone is presenting. He said that interventions of this nature are a legacy of shared solutions to key societal issues of concern to our citizens.
MEC Lubabalo Mabuyane welcomed the investment, saying it will contribute greatly to the growth of the provincial economy. “We are excited that about this investment which brings 450 jobs in total. This contributes to the job creation priorities of the province indicated in the provincial economic development plan and investment promotion strategy. We are pleased as the province that when Nulatex and Meek Mines open their doors next year, 450 people from our province will no longer be counted amongst the unemployed. They will be able to participate fully in the economy and realise their dreams,” said Mabuyane.
“The new investors will respond to government call to promote regional intergration, promote beneficiation and meaningful job creation” said CEO of East London Industrial Development Zone, Simphiwe Kondlo.
He added that beyond the number of jobs to be created, there will be value chain opportunities for local small businesses that will also bring money into the provincial economy.
The Nulatex CEO, Mr Kingsley Tloubatla said on full capacity, the firm will produce 3000 million condoms per annum and that enterprise is pre-qualified by World Health Organisation (WHO). He added that they chose ELSEZ because of its position which makes it easy to import raw material and export products. We also want to contribute to job creation, he concluded.
Meanwhile Mr Neil Isaacs who is the director for Meek Mines said they have taken over premises previously occupied by Matla Diamonds. They have installed plant equipment with an estimated value of R25m and the capability to process up to 60 000 carats per term. We have acquired a beneficiation license under the South African Diamond Act of 1986 as an Authorised Representative, he said.
We believe strongly that the plant is strategically located in the SADC Region at this award winning SEZ backed by a powerful efficient team that has given us all the support that an investor would want and more, added Mr Isaacs.
Issued by the DTI & DEDEAT