President Cyril Ramaphosa has lauded the opening of the R7.7 billion Sappi Saiccor Mill upgrade and expansion project in Umkomaas, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Sappi Saiccor upgrade and expansion project is aimed at increasing the capacity and global competitiveness of Sappi Saiccor Mill, while also creating employment opportunities in the short- and long-term.
The project marks the fulfilment of a commitment the company made at the first South Africa Investment Conference in 2018, when President Ramaphosa called for investments into the South African economy.
The first Investment Conference was convened with the aim of raising R1.2 trillion in new investments over five years and four years later, more than R1.1 trillion worth of investment commitments have been achieved.
President Ramaphosa said the opening of this project demonstrates just what the commitments made at the Investment Conference mean in reality.
“Today, we are witnessing far more than a financial investment. We are witnessing an investment in infrastructure, people, innovation, technology and sustainability. It is an investment in community development, in the local economy, in our export capacity and in the industrialisation of our economy,” the President said.
The Sappi Saiccor Mill is a major role player in KwaZulu-Natal, contributing over R6.7 billion annually to the local economy. The mill employs more than 1 200 staff and 700 contractors.
The President said this project and many others are an example of the impact of the investment drive. He said these projects show that South Africa’s economy is on the road to recovery.
“These investments have been made possible, thanks to the partnership between government and business to drive growth and industrial development.
“The opening of this expansion project is the result of hard work, persistence, corporate vision and above all, is a testament to the enduring commitment of companies like Sappi to South Africa and its people,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said the project supports a number of the country’s national economic priorities.
“This mill is producing employment, developing skills and adding economic value,” the President said.
The President added that the realisation of Sappi’s investment in Umkomaas sends the strongest signal that “our home-grown multinationals are taking the lead in investing in our economy.”
He said this demonstrates confidence to other potential investors that South Africa is indeed a favourable place to invest in and to do business.