New opportunity in gas bottles

2016-05-04 06:00
WORKERS of the Maluti-a-Phofung Special Economic Zone with the representatives of the local municipality and the German-based company, Alugas, during their recent event at Tshiame near Harrismith. Photo: Supplied

WORKERS of the Maluti-a-Phofung Special Economic Zone with the representatives of the local municipality and the German-based company, Alugas, during their recent event at Tshiame near Harrismith. Photo: Supplied

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PHUTHADITJHABA. – The executive mayor of the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, Vusimusi Tshabalala, recently met with potential investors of a German-based company, Alugas, at Tshiame near Harrismith.

This meeting is a step forward for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The company, Alugas, is manufacturing aluminium gas bottles which is said to have a 50- to 60-year life span.

It differs from normal steel gas bottles which have a life span of 25 to 30 years.

Tshabalala said: “I am excited about this development, because it is going to play a significant role in improving the lives of our people.

“It is also going to help our economy to grow. As the custodian of this development, we are very pleased to say it is going to touch our people’s lives in various ways.

“Our people are going to be exposed to new opportunities which will benefit them in the long run.”

Tshabalala said the municipality was ready for this opportunity. He added that they already had projects that were running and others that were in the pipeline to complement the progress of this development.

“We are in the process of training 100 artisans who are going to specialise in welding, motor mechanics, plumbing and spray-painting.

“The reason for this is that we do not want to import skills, but to develop our own within the municipality for our people to benefit from the commencement of this project,” he said.

He further encouraged the community of Harrismith, the surrounding farms and the greater Maluti-a-Phofung to start developing themselves in relevant studies which would be needed during the development and activation of the SEZ.

Dietmar Kissinger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Alugas, mentioned that they were humbled to meet the executive mayor and to know that they could access him at any time due to his open door policy.

Apparently, the investment is estimated at a value of R480 million, which is going to create about 129 permanent jobs.

This investment requires about 18 000 m² under roof and it is going to produce about 1 000 000 bottles per year.

This is a European-based market-leading company which is dominating the forklift market.

“We are happy with the infrastructure, especially the railway line, because our production requires heavy material, which means it needs to be transported by train.

“We are looking forward to being part of this beautiful development,” said Kissinger.

The newly-appointed CEO of SEZ, Mpho Ngema, said: “I want to extend a warm welcome to our investors and assure them that we are very confident that the SEZ will be taking off in a vibrant manner.

“The Free State Development Corporation and Maluti-a-Phofung will work jointly in ensuring the success and smooth running of this nationally-acclaimed development.”

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