On Tuesday, 16 November 2021, the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Mr Oscar Mabuyane, attended the official opening of a state-of-the-art Sundale Schreiber Slice-on-Slice (SOS) Cheese Processing Factory held at the East London Industrial Special Economic Zone (ELSEZ).
The new facility which marks Sundale Dairy’s expansion and a R91.7 million re-investment into the ELSEZ is a result of a Joint Venture (JV) partnership between Sundale Dairy, a local company and Schreiber Foods, global leaders in the production and distribution of processed cheese, cream cheese and yoghurt.
The launch event which also marked Sundale Dairy’s 10th anniversary in the ELSEZ was attended by Sundale Schreiber Management, ELSEZ Board and Executive Management led by Professor Mlungisi Makalima and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Simphiwe Kondlo.
Delivering his keynote address Mabuyane lauded the Sundale Schreiber management for locating their new facility within the ELSEZ, this as the province battles with high numbers of unemployment rate, mainly amongst youth.
“It is through investments by companies such as Sundale Schreiber that we will be able to chip away the unemployment rate because they have multiplier effects in the entire agro-value chain. We are, however, missing out on opportunities that could lead to more job creation in the agricultural value chain as we are not beneficiating enough on our agricultural produce. This is not a matter of lack of policy but a matter of failure to implement policies that favour beneficiation,” stated the Premier.
He added that the province has enough milk to not only support Sundale Schreiber operations but to ensure that localisation of slice-on-slice cheese takes place within the Eastern Cape Province. Currently, 70% of slice-on-slice cheese slices in South Africa is imported.
“Dairy farming in the Eastern Cape is a major contributor to milk production in South Africa, producing nearly 28% of the national total (about 812 million litres of milk per year). Our Province has larger dairy farms than other provinces that are mostly technologically advanced with mechanized operations such as milking machines and computerized systems to manage these larger herds. At any given time, the cows available for milking are estimated at 200 000 to 210 000,” added Mabuyane.
The Premier also extolled the ELSEZ for being amongst the best run and exemplary state-owned-entities in the Province. “In the Eastern Cape we have the best managed State-Owned Entities, in the ELSEZ and its sister company Coega SEZ. Investors want to locate in an area where there is visionary leadership and stability in leadership. As the provincial government, the shareholder in the ELSEZ, we pride ourselves with maintaining the winning leadership team that has led this institution to be the magnet it is for both domestic and foreign direct investments.”
Meanwhile, the ELSEZ CEO, Simphiwe Kondlo, stated that the organisation is excited to welcome the investment which will contribute towards the deepening of agro-processing value chain and localization as well as diversification of the sector industrial production.
“The acquisition of new technologies and industrial capabilities bodes well for our efforts to ensure continuous upskilling and skills transfer on our platform. The timing of this investment is impeccable as our country is mobilizing all stakeholders around economic recovery from the negative impact of COVID-19. This signals a season of hope and recovery,” he said.
At the event Sundale Dairy CEO, Pierre van Rensburg, stated that the Sundale Schreiber facility is set to create 100 additional jobs over a period of five years. However, 40 of those have already been activated.
“Currently Sundale has 497 existing employees bringing the total to 557 direct manufacturing jobs in the next five years. Not only will the company create meaningful manufacturing jobs, it will also be beneficiating the local farmers, whilst also localising their production,” van Rensburg explained.
He also pointed out that the Sundale Schreiber facility will supply quick serve restaurants, such as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC with processed cheese which will go into their globally enjoyed meals.