Jumpstart! New PE cable plant could pave way for R1bn Chinese investment
07 August 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201915679
MINISTER of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel officially launched the R135-million Aberdare High Voltage Power Cables Plant in Port Elizabeth recently, potentially paving the way for a further R1 billiion investment in South Africa.
Thanks to the expansion, Aberdare Cables’ manufacturing capability will be boosted from its current level of 33kV to a new product offering of up to 132 kV. The investment is expected to create 58 jobs in addition to the 429 jobs that Aberdare Cables created in its Port Elizabeth branch to date, at both plant and commercial levels.
Speaking at the event, attended by high-level delegations from government, the Chinese Embassy, labour and business, Patel said the new investment would add significant value in the South African economy and that he viewed it as an opportunity to bring young people and women into jobs.
"This expansion will give an opportunity for 58 additional jobs. But, there's a wider message of saying that investors believe in the country and believe that there is an enormous opportunity. As government we warmly welcome this investment.”
Patel said the investment was made possible by government’s decision designate power cables as a product that all government agencies must buy locally. “To date, there has been one company producing high-voltage cables locally and the opening of the new plant will introduce competition in the market. It provides the industrial capacity as we ready for the African Continental Free Trade Area.”
The Minster added that Aberdare Cables parent company, Hengtong Group, a Chinese global cable manufacturing company, had a much more ambitious investment plan of about R1 billion that it wanted to invest in modernising and strengthening its operations in South Africa. This included building a fibre-optic plant.
“Aberdare’s investment impacted positively on the six key priorities that have been identified for the new department that is being created through the merger of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Economic Development Department,” he said.
Welcoming the guests, Aberdare CEO Haiyan Song said the launch of the facility was a direct response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for local and international companies to invest in the South African economy.
“As the private sector, we need to play a leading role in growing the South African economy in order to address the major social challenges face this country, especially inequality, unemployment and poverty,” he said.
Song confirmed that Hengtong was planning to invest further in South Africa over the next few years. “This investment will generate a number of projects including the upgrading our aging equipment with the most advanced ones, solutions of Renewable Energy and Energy Saving, and Hengtong Industrial Park.”