President Cyril Ramaphosa made special mention of investments in the steel, energy and creative arts industries when he announced pledges worth R1.14-trillion that have so far been made over the four years of holding the annual South African Investment Conference.
Speaking in Johannesburg late on Thursday at the end of this year’s conference, Ramaphosa said 80 projects had been pledged, translating to investments totaling R330-billion.
This, he said, brought the total investment pledges to about R60-billion shy of reaching the R1.2-trillion mark by 2023 that the government had set as a target at the first conference in 2018.
“With just one year left to go, we have now reached 95% of the ambitious target that we set four years ago,” Ramaphosa said, saying he expected to exceed the total investment target at next year’s conference.
He added that it was also pleasing to see manufacturing pledges being made at the conference, and that some of the raw material mined in South Africa would be processed in the country.
“We have been talking about beneficiation for a number of years, and having spoken about it – preached about it – we’re beginning to see more fruition,” the president said.
Some of the pledges made in the steel and manufacturing sectors included a consortium of French companies, represented by the French South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, committing R50-billion in what they said were a number of sectors in the economy, including energy; Scaw Metals investing R2-billion to expand its Wadeville plant in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng; Velocity Ventures from United Arab Emirates investing R470-million in an aluminium and steel plant in Gauteng; and a Chinese company building a R300-million steel plant in Thaba ’Nchu in the Free State.
“You see immense potential in both the traditional and emerging sectors of our economy. What has also been encouraging is that you share the belief that South Africa cannot be prosperous without a prosperous continent — our beloved continent, Africa,” Ramaphosa enthused.
He singled out veteran filmmaker Anant Singh, who will build a studio within the expected R6-billion development along the Durban beachfront promenade.
“I had the great privilege of speaking to Anant Singh, one of our great film producers … and he is building a huge studio in Durban — and he told me about billion [of rand] that he is going to be investing,” Ramaphosa said, adding that he had invited Singh to the conference.
The announcement of the new Durban studios came hours after streaming company Netflix said it was making a R929-million investment to produce four productions to be filmed in South Africa by next year.