Durban – Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel said a R1.7 billion investment in Ladysmith would create local jobs and contribute to the economic prosperity of the region.
Patel spoke on Monday at Dunlop’s celebration of 50 years of production, with its Japanese-based parent company, Sumitomo, announcing that it would be investing R1.7bn into its Ladysmith plant.
Patel said the significant investment is a “beacon of economic growth and development for Emnambithi, or Ladysmith, marking the celebration of 50 years of steadfast production in the region”.
“This substantial investment will serve as a robust pillar, bolstering local production and fortifying the output of the factory. It is a big step towards the modernisation and enhancement of the plant facilities, ensuring the support and creation of local jobs, and contributing to the economic prosperity of the region.
“I welcome the announcement today of a new investment of R1.7bn. It will provide a boost to local production and strengthen the output of the factory, supporting local jobs. The new investment will help to modernise and improve the plant.”
Patel said the investment was also a step towards the R2 trillion target that President Cyril Ramaphosa had set for new investment over the next five years.
“The investment that was announced today is a signal of the confidence that international investors have in South Africa and to the progress we have made with the South African Automotive Masterplan,” said Patel.
He said in alignment with the objectives of the master plan, the government had taken action against unfair trade practices that undermined local production and employment.
Japanese Ambassador Ushio Shigeru said the Embassy of Japan had been a great supporter of Japanese company activities in South Africa.
“It is a pleasure to see Sumitomo Rubber’s further successes in its local operations, which has brought skills development and local youth empowerment.”
Shigeru said although the company had experienced great successes, it had also experienced its fair share of challenges.
“The Covid-19 period saw disruptions to the automotive industry and its supply chains. In addition, the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal had devastating effects on the economy and industry.
“I would also like to express our support for the future of the automotive industry of South Africa. We would like to work with relevant stakeholders, including the South African government,” Shigeru said.