A nation at work: SA implements investment projects

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the implementation of shovel-ready investments is underway, as South Africa enters economic recovery mode in a post COVID-19 environment.

The President, in his opening address at day two of the third South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC2020) in Sandton, Johannesburg, highlighted that this year’s conference aims to ensure the implementation of commitments made at the previous conferences.

Since 2018, the Investment Conference, which aims to attract R1.2 trillion of investment over five years, has made it over the halfway mark, with approximately R664 billion in investment commitments from local and international investors.

“At this year’s conference, we want to consolidate the commitments that have been made to date, to ensure that they are realised.

“We want to see this R664 billion translated into new factories, production lines, mining operations, retail outlets and infrastructure. We want to see it translated into new jobs, new skills and new opportunities,” said the President.

Government is closely tracking the implementation of the 102 projects announced at the last two conferences. To date, R172 billion of the committed amount has been spent on projects.

The sector that has seen the greatest flow of investment from these commitments is mining and mineral beneficiation, with just over R63.6 billion having been spent to date.

“The flow of investment into the ICT sector currently stands at R31 billion. Our automotive sector has attracted some R23 billion.

“Other sectors that have seen substantial actual investment flow so far include property and hospitality at R8.2 billion; infrastructure at R7.7 billion; forestry, paper and pulp at R6.3 billion, fast-moving consumer goods at R6 billion, and financial services at R5.6 billion,” said the President.

Nineteen investment projects from the last two years have already been completed or launched.

A further 44 projects – representing 57% of the total investment commitment – are under construction, with another 12 projects in the early stages of implementation.

Unfortunately, 21 projects – representing around 10% of total commitments – have been delayed or are on hold as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This means that despite the severe disruption of the last few months, the vast majority of projects are making steady progress.

“Significantly, these investments are taking place throughout the country, with projects planned or underway in all eight metropolitan municipalities and 26 district municipalities in all provinces,” said the President.

Vaccine manufacturing

A new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant built by Aspen Pharmacare in Nelson Mandela Bay, which was one of the first investment pledges at the inaugural conference, has reached a preliminary agreement with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture and package its COVID-19 candidate vaccine.

Aspen has been able to build further capability to manufacture vaccines following the investment commitment they announced at the inaugural conference.

“This would position the Eastern Cape as a global hub for the manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products.

“The most recent project to be commissioned is a new LPG storage facility built by Bidvest and Petredec in Richards Bay, the largest of its kind in the world, which will bolster the supply of liquefied petroleum gas to South Africa and the region,” said the President.

Earlier this year, Amazon Web Services launched three new data centres in Cape Town, and Teraco is expanding on its commitment at last year’s conference to build the largest data centre in Africa.

Nissan will start production on their R3 billion production plant for the Navara bakkie in 2021.

Dalisu Holdings, a black industrialist company manufacturing chemicals, will be commissioning their factory in December 2020.

The Toronto Group, a beneficiary of the Black Industrialists Scheme, broke ground on their green charcoal facility in August this year, in the midst of the pandemic.

Poultry producers such as Astral have reached commercial operation of new facilities and are now expanding even further as part of commitments in the SA Poultry Master Plan.

With the third instalment of the conference taking place as economies around the world start to rise from the ashes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the President said the conference had shifted its focus from rallying investors to implementation.

However, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, investors demonstrated a keen appetite for investment.

“As we have found in preparation for this conference, there is still a strong appetite for new investment in our economy.

“I am therefore pleased to announce that there are over 50 companies that will be making commitments at this year’s Investment Conference,” said the President.

Investors are set to pledge their investments commitments before the conclusion of the conference.