The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Mzwandile Masina says that the damning unemployment figures recently released by Statistics South Africa were beginning to cause government to question the return-on-investment it is making in large-scale businesses. Masina was speaking at the official launch of the R350-million MPACT Polymers facility that was funded by the Industrial Development Corporation, in Wadeville yesterday.
The multi-million project enjoys the backing of the Departments of Trade and industry (the dti), Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Economic Development (EDD) in promoting job creation, the reduction of landfill waste and improving the recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) production, that will ultimately help reduce carbon footprint of the food and beverage industry.
"We are beginning to ask ourselves difficult questions as government, whether these investments we are making in large scale businesses are worthy of the praise we give them. It has been twenty-two years of hardship for our people. We have been elected to represent them, so we have to speak firmly on transformation, even to the discomfort of some of you present here today," said Masina.
He stressed that future non-compliance by the private sector to government's transformation agenda would have to be met with punitive measures.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa said the opening of MPACT's plant was testament to the progressive, inclusive and forward-thinking laws, programmes and policies of the South African government.
"This successful project, illustrates what is possible when industry and the public sector collaborate in initiatives with a positive societal impact, in this case, waste reduction," said Molewa.
The Wadeville plant will process 29 000 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles each year to produce 21,000 tonnes of rPET, which will be sold to the food and beverage industry for packaging. An estimated 186,000m3 of landfill space is expected to be saved as a result and approximately 53,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions which will be reduced each year, as the production of rPET requires less energy than manufacturing of new PET.
The Chief Executive Officer for MPACT, Mr Bruce Strong said as a leading PET packaging producer of preforms, bottles and jars, the company would make use of its own rPET to manufacture these and other products through Mpact Polymers.
He added that this offers the opportunity to integrate the plastics business in the same way Mpact has done with its paper recycling business.
Source: The Department of Trade and Industry