New steel plant for Tongaat

2010-10-05 00:00

THE beleaguered manufacturing sector in KwaZulu-Natal has received a welcome boost with the opening by an Italian-based global manufacturer of a new wire and steel rope products factory.

Maccaferri Southern Africa has launched a 9 000 square-metre facility in Maidstone near Tongaat.

The R52 million investment is the group’s first wholly owned factory in Africa and is sited on a 24 000 square-metre plot. The office space covers about 750 square metres.

The factory will employ about 70 people.

Maccaferri SA managing director Adriano Gilli told The Witness the new plant is twice the size of the group’s old facility, which was in rented premises in Westmead, Pinetown.

The group, previously known as African Gabions, manufactures hexagonal woven steel wire-mesh (double-twist mesh).

It also offers solutions to geo-technical problems, including architecture and landscaping, rockfall protection systems, geotechnical engineering, hydraulic and erosion control, shoreline and off-shore protection, emergency works, road pavements and landfill sites.

Gilli said the company aims to benefit from long-term infrastructure projects in South Africa and Africa.

The company has been involved in the King Shaka International Airport and Durban harbour upgrade among other big infrastructure projects.

Gilli said the plant will supply products to many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Botswana, Zambia, Angola, Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Our drive is toward exports, with the harbour in close proximity. The potential for infrastructure development in Africa is there. It is a difficult continent to work in, with social and political unrest. But with risks there are opportunities,” Gilli said.

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