Investment pledges of R109.6-billion were unveiled at the third South African Investment Conference on Wednesday, increasing the total value of commitments made since 2018 to R773.6-billion, or more than 60% of the R1.2-trillion target set by President Cyril Ramaphosa three years ago.
Speaking at the closing of the hybrid event, which attracted 175 direct participants and some 1 700 others virtually, Ramaphosa expressed surprise, in light of the uncertainty and economic disruption associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, that 50 more companies had come forward with new pledges.
He revealed that Cabinet had, at one point, considered cancelling the 2020 event, owing to the economic turmoil that had accompanied the health crisis.
“We did not expect R109-billion, we thought it would be far lower,” he said, describing the commitments as a “remarkable achievement” for South Africa in the circumstances.
A number of the investments, many of which are brownfield in nature, were announced by companies that are not household names in South Africa and in sectors that typically do not receive media attention.
“I am immensely pleased that so many companies, some of whose names we have never heard of before, have come forward, and have come forward boldly, transparently and determinedly to make their announcements – even during this difficult period of Covid,” Ramaphosa enthused.
He said the breadth of the investments was also a showcase of South Africa’s economic diversity and was suggestive of a future “pregnant with great possibilities”.
The companies that announced pledges included: Afrimat, which would invest R300-million in an iron-ore project in the Northern Cape; Anglo African Metals, which would be investing R280-million in titanium beneficiation in Gauteng; Equites and Sandvik, which pledged R287-million to expand their domestic operations; Ivanhoe Mines, which would be investing a further R730-million in the Platreef project, in Limpopo; Lactalis, which will invest R100-million in a powdered milk manufacturing facility; Mapochs announced it will invest R100-million to re-establish a vanadium mine in Limpopo; dairy group Sundale would invest a further R101-million in cheese and dairy production in the Western Cape; Homesek announced R500-million in dairy sector investments in the Free State; Sail Ferroalloys would be investing R562-million to produce ferrochrome in Mpumalanga; Bradley Aviation pledged R244-million for aeronautical manufacturing in Gauteng; Fuchs will invest R260-million to expand its lubricants operation in Gauteng; Sasol announced that it would invest a minimum of R5.4-billion to produce clean fuels at its Secunda operation in Mpumalanga; Clariter said it would invest R222-million in a waste-plastic-to-oil facility in Eastern Cape; P&G announced a diaper manufacturing expansion worth R260-million for Gauteng; Dr. Oetker pledged R200-million for the expansion of its ready-made meals production facilities; Frimax Foods announced a R380-million expansion of its snacks and potato chips manufacturing operations; PepsiCo would invest R5.5-billion to expand the manufacturing capacity across its Pioneer Foods operations; Unica was investing R250-million in steel manufacturing in Gauteng; United Heavy Industries pledged R350-million to establish a steel-bar manufacturing facility in KwaZulu-Natal; Dangold Packaging would invest R830-million in a beverage-can plant; Scaw was investing a further R250-million into its steel operation in Gauteng; SA Steel Mills announced an investment of R1.5-billion for a steel manufacturing plant in Gauteng; PG Bison would invest R1.98-billion to expand their board manufacturing plants; Sonae Arauco would invest R200-million to expand a paper manufacturing line in Mpumalanga; Supavut pledged R150-million for an automotive component investment in Gauteng; Metair would invest R1.1-billion in automotive component manufacturing in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng; SEW Eurodrive was investing R200-million in Gauteng; the amdec group would invest R2-billion in the Harbour Arch Development in the Western Cape; Divercity announced a R1.2-billion mixed-use property development for Gauteng; Thukela Lifestyle Resorts would invest R1.4-billion in KwaZulu-Natal; Provenance pledged R100-million for a film studio and innovation hub in KwaZulu-Natal; Robert Jurgens Construction Management would invest R8.4-billion in various property developments, including a new hospital in KwaZulu-Natal; Blythedale Coastal Estate pledged R800-million for a lifestyle property development in KwaZulu-Natal; Port Shepstone Property Developments would invest R550-million in an intermodal transport facility and a shopping mall in KwaZulu-Natal; Really Epic Dog announce a R200-million investment in the Homestead luxury game lodge in KwaZulu-Natal; Akani Properties pledged R1.2-billion for property developments in the North West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga; Telkom announced that it would be investing R8-billion to expand its telecommunications infrastructure; Teraco would invest R4.4-billion in data-centre infrastructure in Gauteng; Google would land a R2.2-billion fibreoptic submarine cable in the Western Cape; NTT pledged R875-million for the expansion of data centres in Gauteng; Capita would invest R530-million in the business process outsourcing sector in the Western Cape; the Mnambithi Group pledged R1.3-billion for a multipurpose bulk liquid storage terminal in the Port of Durban; the Sola Group announced R400-million for the renewables sector across the country; Solar Africa pledged R170-million to support large industrial consumers in Gauteng; the Giant Flag Consortium announced a R184-million eco-tourism development for the Eastern Cape; the New Development Bank would invest R32-billion to support infrastructure across South Africa; Old Mutual pledged R3.6-billion to support infrastructure development; Sanlam said it would make funding of R7.25-billion available for small and medium-sized enterprises and infrastructure projects; the Industrial Development Corporation would invest a further R8-billion; and the Belgian Chamber of Southern Africa said that Belgium firms would be investing R1.5-billion in South Africa.
Prior to the third investment conference, combined investment pledges worth R664-billion across 102 projects had been made by domestic and foreign investors.
To date, R172-billion of that committed amount had actually been invested.
The investment outlook had been severely hurt by the pandemic and Ramaphosa reported that 21 projects, representing about 10% of the total commitments, had been delayed or placed on hold as a result.