Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube says the construction of Synergy Blenders’ R120 million chemical manufacturing plant in KwaZulu-Natal highlights the province’s resilience and is a boost for the economy.

Dube-Ncube made the remarks during the unveiling of the 47% caustic soda liquid dissolution and blending plant at the Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in La Mercy, Durban.

Dube-Ncube, who was joined by Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Siboniso Duma, said the investment signals renewed hope, following the July 2021 civil unrest and this year’s April floods, which severely tested the province.

“This investment is not only timely but is a vote of confidence in the Dube Trade Port, our Special Economic Zone,” Dube-Ncube said on Thursday.

Synergy Blenders is a 100% black-owned local chemical manufacturing plant that produces liquid caustic soda. The plant is expected to be fully operational in April 2023.

The entity received a R50 million grant from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition under the Black Industrialist Scheme and R70 million loan from the Industrial Development Corporation.

The Premier outlined measures government has made to drive economic growth, highlighting that locating the plant within the Dube Trade Port Special Economic Zone will ensure efficiencies in the operations of Synergy Blenders, while reducing the logistics costs of imported raw material.

“What Synergy Blenders is launching today is a manufacturing plant that will produce a chemical product used as an input of a variety of sectors from pulp and paper to textiles and mining. With only three established producers of 47% caustic soda liquid in the country, the local manufacturing of caustic soda is currently unable to meet the demand and hence an average of 370 000 tons is imported into the country annually.

Growing the economy

“This highlights the potential for growth for this development by Synergy Blenders, which marks yet another step towards growing the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. As the provincial government, we are looking forward to seeing increased competition in the space and anticipating a locally produced product that is of a high-quality meeting international standards, yet cost-effective for the benefit of the market and other stakeholders in the value chain,” the Premier said.

She also reaffirmed that as the province embarks on the journey of economic recovery, chief among the key priorities is creating a nurturing environment for businesses throughout the value chains of key sectors of the economy.

“We wish to point out that Synergy Blenders Manufacturing Plant will become an integral part of our Provincial Industrial Strategy, which enjoins us to stimulate the manufacturing industry in order to increase employment. At this stage, we wish to inform companies looking at investment opportunities in KwaZulu-Natal that we are open for business,” Dube-Ncube said.

Highlighting the strategic importance of SEZs, Dube-Ncube said their developmental purpose includes to develop export-orientated industries, attract foreign direct investment and technology transfer, and achieve the generation of employment opportunities.

“The SEZs stand to be an effective instrument to resolve the disturbing levels of inequality, poverty and unemployment, which are strongly marked by spatial, racial, class and gender factors. Our people need jobs and we should do everything possible to bring these jobs closer to them so that they do not spend their meagre resources travelling to work,” she said.

Dube-Ncube expressed her appreciation to the involvement of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, and the Industrial Development Corporation under the Black Industrialist Scheme.

She also acknowledged the role-played by other entities such as Trade Investment KwaZulu-Natal.

“It is through such a partnership that we will be able to put this province onto a path of growth and prosperity. It is our wish that as we move forward, Synergy Blenders Manufacturing Plant will be in a position to produce quality products that will ensure your competitive edge and brand loyalty,” the Premier said.

Source: South Africa Government News Agency

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