Newly launched factory welcomed

2016-11-16 06:01
KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, Mandeni Mayor Siphesihle Zulu and senior executive at Minzhu Enterprises Minglai He at a tour of the recently launched biscuit making factory in the Isithebe Industrial Estate. Photo: Makhosandile Zulu

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, Mandeni Mayor Siphesihle Zulu and senior executive at Minzhu Enterprises Minglai He at a tour of the recently launched biscuit making factory in the Isithebe Industrial Estate. Photo: Makhosandile Zulu

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KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala urged recently launched Minzhu Enterprises to increase the number of people employed in its factory in the Isithebe Industrial Estate from 130 to 150.

Zikalala was speaking at the official opening of the enterprises' biscuit factory in Mandeni last week.

He urged the employers to raise the number of their employees by the following month, December and committed that Ithala Development Finance Corporation - which runs the Isithebe Industrial Estate on behalf of the provincial government - would assist the factory with its expansion plans.

"We commit that we will get Ithala to engage with them [Minzhu Enterprises] as they seek to secure a further 10 000 square metres of covered factory floor in order to ensure that they grow and are able to produce at an optimal level," Zikalala said.

Furthermore, he encouraged Minzhu Enterprises to source its ingredients from local suppliers.

The MEC said the R106 million pumped by the enterprise into the factory since 2014, is evidence that KZN is an investment destination of choice.

"We commend Minzhu Enterprise for having faith in the economy of our province, especially the fact that this enterprise has chosen the District of iLembe and the Municipality of Mandeni instead of other more established metropolitan areas," Zikalala said.

He said such an investment is in line with the provincial government's drive towards promoting industrialisation and the revitalisation of rural and township economies, adding that the factory would create employment opportunities for Mandeni residents which will boost the local economy.

Zikalala said according to the 2011 census outcomes, 8 735 (23%) of the 38 235 households in all the wards under the jurisdiction of the Mandeni Municipality do not receive any form of income.

He said that additionally, 40% of the total population of Mandeni is not economically active while about 22% of the population is unemployed.

"Employment creation is, therefore, of paramount importance. It is in response to this challenge that we have sought to position Isithebe Industrial Estate as a platform to stimulate industrialisation and manufacturing within the Greater Mandeni Municipality," Zikalala said.

The MEC said in response to the regrettable protests that brought the industrial estate to a halt and saw some factories burnt to the ground, R49 million was invested in the first phase of the Isithebe Industrial Revitalisation programme announced by Minister Rob Davies last month.

Mandeni mayor Siphesihle Zulu echoed the MEC's words when he said the launch of Minzhu Enterprises marks the revival of the Isithebe Industrial Estate.

"Isithebe is still functioning, and we hope more businesses will invest in the area as this will create more job opportunities. Isithebe is nothing without the business fraternity that is why we would like to extend a warm welcome to Minzhu and other potential investors," he said.

The mayor said the Mandeni council would endeavour to ensure that municipal by-laws do not hamper but rather stimulate the growth of the local economy.

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