Johannesburg – At the opening of the Corobrik Kwastina facility in Gauteng on Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was delighted to be delivering his speech at a place full of hope and prosperity.
“This investment is an example of the productive partnerships that have been forged between business and government to grow our economy and create jobs,” he said.
He said Corobrik pledged R800 million in 2019 at the South Africa Investment Conference.
“We are seeing the results of the R800 million investment pledged by Corobrik at the 2019 South Africa Investment Conference. I am told that it is the largest brick-making project in the world outside of China,“ he said.
The president mentioned how in March, at the 4th South Africa Investment Conference, they had sought to see the investment commitments being rapidly turned into projects.
At the time he stated: “We want to see foundations being sunk, to hear the sound of bricks being laid and see cranes dotting the skyline. We want to see factories being built and production lines being expanded. We want to see people being employed and skills being developed.”
He said Corobrik has been a household name in South Africa since 1902, when it was founded. He also said the building material company had become known as a pioneer in the manufacture and supply of material for the commercial and household construction industry.
Ramaphosa further said in support of the national investment, the investment that Corobrik made in 2019 had now increased to an amount of R1 billion and the company had made an extra R200 million investment to expand its operations in KwaZulu-Natal.
According to the president, the manufacturing sector was their pride and joy in terms of the economy of the country and continued to play a pivotal role in the creation of employment opportunities.
He said the Kwastina construction has created more than 1 000 temporary employment opportunities, which led to people in communities participating in bricklaying after receiving proper training on the project.
Furthermore, he said the Covid-19 pandemic had a detrimental impact on livelihoods and income security.
“I wish to commend Corobrik for being a reliable employer of some 2 500 people at your various facilities across the country.
“Great companies are built by investing in people, and we are greatly encouraged by Corobrik’s efforts to empower its workers,” he said.
He also shared his excitement at knowing that the brick supplying company employees are also shareholders in the business through Staff Trust, in which 26% of the company’s share capital resides.
“I wish to commend you for investing in the next generation through a bursary scheme for children of staff, your Building Training Centres and your sponsorship of the Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Programme,” he said.
Ramaphosa said this pleased him as he also knows that Corobrik will generate electricity from renewable resources. It is also said that Corobrik has embraced the Fourth Industrial Revolution by pursuing new technology that will enhance human-machine interaction for efficient production.
He said this was a great opportunity to broaden their business.
“It is significant that Kwastina – with a production capacity of 100 million bricks per annum – will allow the company to broaden its export market to countries such as Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” he said.
“This is an important part of the government’s efforts to support localisation, supplier and enterprise development, as well as empowerment. Corobrik is making a vital contribution – in a very literal sense – to rebuilding South Africa’s economy,” he maintained.
Corobrik has the potential to double its footprint and use the plentiful economic opportunities on the continent to create more job opportunities for sustainable growth.
He also said they are looking forward to continuous engagements with Corobrik and other companies in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors to unlock further opportunities and economic value.