An aggreement of intent to invest an initial R1.4 to R1.75bn in a cement manufacturing plant has been signed by industrial conglomerate, Shandong Xianglong Group – one of many Chinese investments planned in public transport, property and educational exchange, according to MEC for Transport and Public Works Marius Fransman.
The cement plant is expected to have a production capacity of 6000 to 10 000tpdand create 500 to 600 production jobs.
A site for the plant has still to be decided. At a lunch yesterday attended by the provincial Cabinet and the 24 members of a Chinese delegation in town this week, Fransman said that King Long, possibly China’s largest public vehicle manufacturer, had expressed a “strong intention” to set up a manufacturing plant in the Western Cape.
“We have seen a lot of opportunities available to various companies brought along,” said Himmer Hou, chairperson of the South Africa Japan China Group (SJC). President of the Shandong Xianglong Group, Xin Jun, said his company was keen to establish an educational exchange programme with Yantai University, which it owned, and help with intelligent transport systems.
“Our visit showed us that the world economy is increasingly rotating around the Chinese economy,” said Premier Ebrahim Rasool of the China trip last month by a Western Cape delegation, which was his first official visit to China.
“If you have no relationship with the Chinese economy, you’re not going to be able to advance your own economy – especially in a country like South Africa,” he said.
South Africa was in a fortunate situation as it had “friendly and ideological relations” with China.
The focus of the China trip last month was to convince businesses there that South Africa was a desirable destination for their operations. It was not about the R900 000 cost of the trip, he added.
Shandong is the only province in mainland China to have an agreement with the Western Cape, which is Shandong’s first partner province in Africa.