Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel, officially launched the multi-million-rand Aberdare High Voltage Power Cables Plant in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, 25 July 2019, at the event which was attended by high-level delegations from government, Chinese Embassy, labour and business.
This new industrial investment sees the expansion of Aberdare Cables’ manufacturing capability of cables from a current level of 33kV to a new product offering of up to 132 kV. This R 135 million 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, Minister Patel said government welcomed the new investment by Aberdare Cables as it would add a significant value in the South African economy and that he viewed the investment 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.
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” said Minister Patel.
The Minster further 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 to modernise and strengthen its operations in South Africa, including that of building of a fibre optic plant. “The 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 (the dti) and the Economic Development Department,” he said.
The Minister was accompanied by his Deputy, Mr Fikile Majola; MEC for Economic Development in the Eastern Cape, Mr Mlungisi Mvoko; Ambassador Lin Songtian of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of South Africa; Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Mr Mongameli Bobani as well as other senior government leaders and officials. The event was also attended by Aberdare customers, partners and other stakeholders from South Africa and outside the country.
Welcoming the guests, Aberdare CEO, Dr Haiyan Song said the launch of the facility was a direct response to His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for local and international companies to invest in the South African economy.
“As a 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.
As Aberdare Cables and Hengtong Group we commit ourselves to contribute immensely in the government’s campaign for growth and renewal, to help build the country and create jobs, especially for young people and women.
Hengtong is 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,” said Dr Song.
All these projects and programmes will create more sustainable professional, technical and skilled jobs and will see rigorous investment in skills development and transfer which will fundamentally empower and develop our youth and women.
Hengtong is willing to and will introduce the most advanced technology and know-how to South Africa and transfer to local employees, especially to youth.