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Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has welcomed the R150 million Chinese investment at the Dube Trade Port which will build local capacity in the manufacturing of fibre optic cables.

Chinese company, Yangtze Optics Africa Cable (YOAC), announced its investment at the Dube Trade Port Industrial Development Zone in Durban.

YOAC is a R150 million investment to set up and operate a modern optical fibre cable manufacturing plant in South Africa, by Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Limited Company (YOFC) from China, and Mustek Limited, a JSE listed company.

« Following the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that took place in December 2015, and the recent Bi-National Commission (BNC) with China held last month, this investment is a boost in terms of our bilateral relations with China and the commitment made by the Chinese government towards building industrial capacity on the African continent.

« During the BNC, the Chinese Vice President, Dr Li Yuanchou, commended South Africa for building world-class infrastructure in the Special Economic Zones to attract investment, » said Minister Davies.

Minister Davies said YOAC’s optical fibre cable manufacturing plant, with an initial capacity of one million fibre kilometres, will introduce new modern manufacturing equipment and processes in the manufacturing of optical fibre cable in South Africa.

The Minister said it is the intention of YOAC to manufacture a range of new generation optical fibre cable products for the country’s Information and Communication Technology and broadband market, as well as key export markets in West and East Africa.

« The construction on the optical fibre cable plant started in May this year after a successful soil-turning event attended by Chinese and South Africa government officials. The build and installation phase of the project was completed by end of November 2016, a mere six months from the start of the plant construction.

« We are able to roll out green field plants in record, which bodes well for the Dube Trade Port as an attractive investment value proposition, » said the Minister.

The new manufacturing facility is expected to create a number of hi-tech new jobs within the sector.

« To date, YOAC has recruited 42 employees of which a significant majority of them was sourced from local communities adjacent to the King Shaka International Airport.

« YOAC intends to create a further 80 employment opportunities in 2017. Nearly two-thirds of the employment opportunities created are technical positions, requiring additional technical skills transfer training from YOFC, » said Minister Davies.

The plan for the next phase is to build an optical fibre drawing facility which will mainly produce optical fibre which is the main raw material for cable production.

« The YOAC investment further signifies that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination for hi-tech advanced manufacturing sectors and reinforces our collaboration on a bilateral level with China, » says Minister Davies.