6 March 2012
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies stressed the importance of the steel industry to South Africa’s economic development as he officially opened Mauritius-based Safal Steel’s new R1-billion metal coating facility in Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal on Monday.
“This investment, supported by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and in which the Industrial Development Corporation also participated, clearly demonstrates Safal Group’s confidence in South Africa as an investment destination and the maturity of our steel industry.”
The facility has a capacity of 150 000 tons a year of both un-painted and painted coated coil, which is sold on to the roofing and general engineering sectors. There are plans to double the volumes to 300 000 tons in the near future.
One of SA’s largest manufacturing sectors
Speaking at the opening of the facility, Davies said the steel industry was one of largest manufacturing sectors in South Africa’s economy and critical from an economic development point of view.
“The facility is manufacturing and supplying coated steel roofing to both the local and global markets, with 60 percent of the product targeted for the local market and the balance for exports,” Davies noted.
“The facility has already created 370 jobs, mainly employing people from local community, Durban and Pietermaritzburg.”
Davies emphasised the linkages between infrastructure development and manufacturing, and said that investment projects that enhanced productive capacity should be supported.
Business, government partnership
The minister said the plant bore testimony to the important partnership that had been built between business and the government, and the role that business was playing in the country’s economic and industrial development.
Through the DTI’s Enterprise Investment Programme, R30-million was approved for the investment, of which R22.5-million had been paid, and R9-million in support was granted under the DTI’s Critical Infrastructure Programme.
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) also provided significant funding facilities for the project.
Davies said his department understood the significance of the project and would assist in dealing with challenges that might hinder its long-term viability.
Safal Group currently operates in 16 African countries.