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Multimillion-rand investment in Hammarsdale brings hope for KZN, SA

Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina, centre, with Edmond Scanlon, Kerry Group CEO, left, Ambassador of Ireland to South Africa, Fionnuala Gilsenan and Economic Development MEC Ravi Pillay at the official launch of the Kerry Hammarsdale development yesterday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Nomalungelo Gina, centre, with Edmond Scanlon, Kerry Group CEO, left, Ambassador of Ireland to South Africa, Fionnuala Gilsenan and Economic Development MEC Ravi Pillay at the official launch of the Kerry Hammarsdale development yesterday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 10, 2022

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DURBAN - TRADE, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina says the R650 million investment by an Irish company, Kerry Group, in Hammarsdale brings hope that KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa are bouncing back from the hardships experienced in the past three years.

Speaking during the launch of the plant yesterday, Gina said the government was encouraged to see another massive project launch stemming from the 2019 Presidential Investment Conference where numerous investment pledges had been made.

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She noted how Covid-19 and its economic impact, coupled with the July unrest and the recent floods, had dealt a massive blow to the province’s economic ambitions and how the investment would breathe life into the western part of Durban.

“Your settling here in Hammarsdale is an important signal to us, and definitely for the provincial government, that business confidence in the province is still here,” said the deputy minister.

The R650m facility will produce sustainable nutrition solutions that will be consumed across the African continent, and is one of the company’s most environmentally-efficient manufacturing sites, with numerous sustainability features including low energy usage equipment, solar power generation to reduce consumption from the local grid, waste heat capture, and efficient water capture, reuse and reduction.

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Gina said investment was critical for economic growth and development, adding that the government was amplifying efforts to attract high-quality investment that would assist in achieving the country’s economic objectives. She also noted that the plant is named Ikusasa, which means “the future”.

“Prospects for the future are exactly what we need in this region, given the three setbacks that have reversed the gains that had been made in the past.

We are here to thank you for this magnificent investment as it shows that you have an interest in the future of this province,” the deputy minister said.

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KZN Economic Development and Tourism MEC Ravi Pillay expressed delight at the opening of the facility, saying it spoke to the ambitions of the province of being a hub of economic activity.

“We really do believe that KZN is a special province owing to its strategic location, and today’s launch speaks to what we refer to as a social compact that must be built, consisting of government, business and civil society, which is what is needed to move us forward,” said Pillay. He assured the Kerry Group of the government’s consistent co-operation.

Commenting on the opening, Edmond Scanlon, CEO of the Kerry Group, said the opening of the facility in Hammarsdale was a significant step forward in helping to realise the company’s vision of creating a world of sustainable nutrition.

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“For 50 years, Kerry has focused on meeting local consumer needs grounded in great taste – one of the most important criteria in any food or beverage.

“Our suite of world-leading technologies, combined with our expertise and now this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, ensures that we can continue to work with our customers to produce great tasting, nutritious products that are respectful of our planet,” said the CEO.

He said the company is also expanding its Development and Application Centre in Nairobi, Kenya to further support customers in East Africa and the development of sustainable food processing for the continent.

Aside from industry and government figures, the event was also attended by the ambassador of Ireland to the Republic of South Africa, Fionnuala Gilsenan, local traditional leadership and representatives of eThekwini Municipality.

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