Posted: May 10, 2022
Programme Director, Miss Mkhwanazi.
The Premier of Kwa-Zulu Natal – Mr. Sihle Zikalala
The MEC for economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs – Mr. Ravi Pillay
H.E. (Ms) Fionnuala Gilsenan, Ambassador of Ireland to the Republic of South Africa
Kerry Group CEO : Mr. Edmond Scanlon
The Directors and Staff of Kerry Group
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
the dtic appreciate the extension of important invitation to be part of witnessing this important opening of the Kerry Group plant here in Durban, Hammersdale. We are here to say THANK YOU for this magnificent investment in this region of KwaZulu Natal, Durban in particular. This plant is appropriately named Ikusasa, which means future in isiZulu. Prospects for future is exactly what we need in this region given the three setbacks that have reversed the gains of what have been achieved over a long time, and the future has been beginning to show signs of darkness. The COVID-19 and its economic impact to the economy through lockdown, the 2021 July unrest whose epicentre was Durban and the recent KZN floods whose significant impact was Durban, have all dealt a remarkable blow to the economic path of Durban, causing huge retrenchments.
It is for this above reasons that as the dtic we are celebrating this inauguration of this new factory by Kerry Group. South Africa is opened for business. Our economic resilience as a country owing to the solid structure of our economy with sophisticated industries including the financial sector, has cushioned us to the worst effects that have befell other weak economies. To that extent, we are certain that recovery and reconstruction of this economy, after these three setbacks, will succeed.
Strained food production systems have highlighted the need for diversified and resilient food supply chains. This comes amidst other global trends such as urbanisation and climate change. Both have reduced, and will continue to reduce the availability of agricultural resources, resulting in uncertainties in food production. At the same time, population growth and rising incomes will continue to increase the demand for food, particularly on the African continent.
Against this backdrop, it pleases me to hear that Kerry is exploring innovative and sustainable ways to produce quality food products that can help resolve Africa’s food challenges. I am told that Kerry is a world leader in taste and nutrition, serving the food and beverage industry globally. This investment is quite significant in the sense that this 1000 square meter facility, which will increase your production by 40%, is your largest investment in Africa.
Investment is critical for the economic growth and development of the economy and the South African government is amplifying its efforts to attract high quality investment that will assist in achieving our economic objectives of enhancing the country’s industrial capacity. South Africa remains an attractive and lucrative investment destination, where the return on investments are high. Opportunities abound for both foreign and domestic investors. For this province, which is a second contributor to the national GDP after Gauteng, our concerns is that they could fall from this position and that will compromise the national outlook. We are currently not happy with the fact that the province only contributes 16%, because fundamentals are all in place for this region to go above 20% GDP growth generation. Your settling here in Hammersdale is an important signal to us, and definitely for the provincial government, that business confidence in the province is still there.
This official launch ceremony and the R 600 million investment that was pledged during the 2019 Presidential Investment Conference and well as additional R 50 million investment, confirms the result of an important partnership that has been built between business and government and the role that business Is playing towards the country’s economic and industrial development. And we must thank you for fulfilling this 2019 pledge which was made at a time when no one knew what was coming for world economy, the following year – COVID-19 impact. There has been fears that other investment commitments predating the pandemic, may not be fulfilled because of the sudden impact to the multinationals balance sheets and therefore affecting their investment decisions.
As the dtic, we are excited about this investment because it aligns very well with our re-imagined industrial strategy. As a department, we undertook to support improved industrial performance, through localization, dynamism and competitiveness of local companies. Our economic vision is to lift the rate of inclusive economic growth. Investments such as yours will assist us to achieve these objectives.
The manufacturing sector is one of the key priority industries of the economy and continues to play a pivotal role in the creation of employment opportunities. Kerry provides 500 jobs across South Africa in production, operations, finance, marketing and supply chain and is a level 6 BB-BEE contributor. This facility I am told will provide 232 jobs, of which 13% are females. Looking at these statistics I see two opportunities for my department to work with you :
– Assisting your company to move to level one BB-BEE contributor and
- Increasing the number of women employed in this facility.
One of the key strengths of South Africa’s agribusiness is the downstream processing and added value activities, that in many cases allow us to differentiate, to create, and to add value. This is what often gives us the competitive edge. In recent years, there has been significant positive changes in this industry, and this is leading to efficiency gains and new investment, such as this new plant.
Once again, congratulations to Kerry Group on this achievement. Your commitment to government’s economic recovery efforts and confidence in growing the South African manufacturing sector is commendable.
I want to conclude by giving you the assurance that government is proactively supporting localization, supplier and enterprise development as well as empowerment and we look forward to having continuous engagements with Kerry Group to unlock further opportunities and economic value. Our re-imagined Industrial strategy and the renewed impetus of public-private partnerships augurs well for increased confidence in the South African economy. With that, I want to wish you all the best with your new plant and your future expansions.