Posted: June 21, 2023
His Excellency, Chinese Ambassador Chen Xiadong.
President of EPC, Mr. Guo Guihe.
The CEO and Executive Director of Nyandza Light Metals, Donovan Chimhandamba.
The Delegation of ECEC.
The Delegation of Nyanza.
The Richards Bay IDZ.
Ladies and gentlemen.
I am very excited today to have witnessed such a symbolic Joint Venture signing ceremony between Nyanza Light Metals, East China Engineering Science and Technology and OM Contract. Having met the leadership of the East China Engineering Science and Technology earlier this year in my DTIC offices (which coincided with my meeting with the Chinese Ambassador in Pretoria), I concluded that there was going to be real commitment to bring value in this partnership. Your experience in complex projects of this nature before in China and elsewhere in the World has been emphasized, and to us, that is reassuring.
Nyanza Light Metals represent our pride as Africans. We want it to succeed. The journey they have travelled including the raising of capital to finance this Titanium Dioxide Pigment Manufacturing Plant has been commendable. The completion of phase one has inspired confidence to all of us that, if all things were to be lined up well according to plans, you will definitely meet all the construction deadlines in terms of the project cycle.
One thing that Chinese are reputable of – is project completion either on time or before the deadline. I have no doubt that we will meet the set deadlines of the months that have been targeted.
We have been supporting Nyanza Light Metals ever since it pledged during President’s Investment Conference 5 years ago, and as DTIC we have been accelerating with them in navigating the path, working with our Richards Bay IDZ and the KZN Government. I want to commit, once again, that we want to see this project continuing uninterrupted, right to end. As government, we will protect this project.
If there is one thing that makes us proud, it is the fact that this is a Titanium Dioxide Pigment manufacturer established and owned by Africans, not as fronts for big boys wagging the tale. As for your Titanium Dioxide Pigment product, it is widely used in the manufacturing of products such as paints, industrial coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods, medicines as well as toothpastes.
The R4.5 billion investment represent an opportunity that South Africa and native Africans can change the resource curse that Africa has been known for – which is – being the net exporter of raw materials from gold, diamond, platinum, iron ore and many more including titanium. We have been a laughing stock for too long because its Africa again that import the same products as value-added products from the Western Economies, produced through our minerals at premium. That era belongs to the past!
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) instruct us to change the game. The continent must industrialize as quick as it can, it must catchup to other industrialized economies. We must trade with ourselves first and therefore other outside markets – to enhance our economic fortunes. The minerals endowments the continent has, must be beneficiated here in the continent and be exported as value added goods. Nyandza Light Metals represents that direction of downstream beneficiation efforts.
As government – both national and provincial – has a responsibility to support this project by all means. Our IDZ in Richards Bay must be a catalyst for this project. One thing we need to keep on improving from our government officials, is speed and turnaround times for investors. Investors are our salvation and we must be quick in sorting out regulatory blockages. This is critical for us as government because the spin-offs are far wider than corporate tax benefits but its job creation that is associated with this project. But importantly is the reality of permanent jobs once the company operates in full, after construction is completed.
On those few words, on behalf of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, we are thankful of these efforts. We are thankful to the Nyandza partners and the government of China. We therefore congratulate this joint venture officiated today and we will meet on ground as we will come and do site inspection from time to time. Good luck to everyone!
I thank you.