6 months ago

Mpumalanga Business 2021-22

OVERVIEW Manufacturing

OVERVIEW Manufacturing Furniture is in the spotlight. With timber being one of Mpumalanga’s primary products, any initiative to boost the furniture sector must be welcomed by manufacturers. A first national Furniture Sector Forum has been held, where government incentives and ideas about how to reduce the cost of expensive machinery through co-ownership and partnerships were shared. The forum was co-hosted by the South African Furniture Initiative (SAFI), Proudly South African, PG Bison and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic). The dtic’s Agro Processing Support Scheme (APSS) includes furniture manufacture as a core sector for future growth and support. Other efforts to get government departments to buy locally were explained. Average employment per manufacturer is 13 people per facility. Furntech White River is a part of the Seda Technology Programme of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda). Among the goals of the programme are to develop business and production skills through skills development and the demonstration of technology. A key objective of the provincial government’s Mpumalanga Economic Growth and Development Path (MEGDP) is to expand the industrial base of the provincial economy. To do this, policy-makers are focusing on beneficiation, agro-processing and value-chain development. From steel to chemicals, petroleum and stainless steel to paper and fruit juice, Mpumalanga makes a wide variety of products. There is a distinct geographical divide. Fuel, petroleum and chemical production occurs in the southern Highveld region clustered around Sasol’s plants. The Sasol chemicals and liquid fluids complex at Secunda is a vital component of Mpumalanga’s manufacturing sector. The company has two propylene manufacturing plants and recently completed two major investments aimed at improving flows and expanding production. The northern Highveld area, including Middleburg and eMalahleni (Witbank), is home to ferro alloy, steel and stainless-steel concerns. In the Lowveld, agricultural and forestry products are processed ONLINE RESOURCES Highveld Industrial Park: Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency: South African Iron and Steel Institute: SECTOR INSIGHT The province wants to expand its industrial base. Credit: Furntech White River/Seda while Sappi’s giant mill is close to the company’s forests south-west of the provincial capital, Mbombela. TSB Sugar runs two large mills and produces fruit juices through a subsidiary company. Nelspruit is the centre of the province’s foodprocessing cluster. Approximately 70% of jobs in the manufacturing sector are in food and forestry. Steelmaking is a key strategic industry for South Africa, representing 1.5% of the country’s GDP and accounting for about 190 000 jobs. According to the South African Iron and Steel Institute (SAISI), the South African steel industry value chain multiplies the value of local iron ore by a factor of four. The country produces about six-million tons annually, but costs are high and domestic demand is low. Middelburg-based Columbus Stainless is South Africa’s only producer of stainless-steel products. A significant portion of sales are domestic and export volumes are flexible, depending on local demand. ■ MPUMALANGA BUSINESS 2021/22 44

Water Several plants are being upgraded in the province. OVERVIEW SECTOR INSIGHT The treatment of acid-mine water is a vital capability. The Malvajan wastewater treatment works is underway, with the support of the National Department of Water and Sanitation. The Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant is being used to fix the Embalenhle Bulk Sewer line. The grant will be used to supply the treatment plant at Weltevreden and to accelerate the link from the Loskop Dam to the communities living in Thembisile Hani Local Municipality. Progress towards the selection of a site for a City of Mbombela Dam is being made. In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the National Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) delivered 500 water tanks and 56 water trucks to several Mpumalanga municipalities. This was to ensure that residents had a reliable supply of water to wash their hands and for drinking. The Operations and Maintenance Division of Nafasi Water is responsible for large water treatments plants at Middelburg and eMalahleni. Nafasi is a rebranding of Aveng Water which was purchased by Infinity Partners for R95-million in 2019. Infinity is owned by the former Aveng Water CEO Suzie Nkambule and E-Squared Investments. The Middelburg Water Reclamation Plant (MWRP) produces no brine and avoids energy-intensive methods, a world first for a mine water treatment plant. Phase 2 of the eMalahleni project produces drinking water after treating mine water from one of the collieries of Anglo American Thermal Coal. Acting on a disturbing report published by the Centre for Environmental Rights on the way some mining companies are using water, a provincial Environmental Management Committee has been appointed to conduct environmental impact analysis and assess climate change threats. ONLINE RESOURCES Credit: Rand Water Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency: Komati Basin Water Authority: National Department of Water and Sanitation: Water Research Commission: NuWater was contracted to reduce waste at the water treatment plant for Emalahleni Municipality. An ultra-filtration technology was used to reduce waste from 20Ml/day. A total of 327 water infrastructure projects benefiting 350 259 households have been completed, with a further 165 sanitation projects finalised. A bulk water supply system connecting villages within the Bushbuckridge area has been completed. Rand Water is responsible for water provision in the area. A joint project with Eskom related to rain-water harvesting will also create jobs. The Siyasebenza Job Creation Initiative is intended to create 900 jobs in the Nkangala District Municipality. The Imkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency covers Mpumalanga, parts of Limpopo and part of the Kingdom of Swaziland and is responsible for water usage issues relating to the following river catchment areas: Sabie-Sand, Crocodile, Komati, Nwaswitsontso and Nwanedzi. The Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) is an important agency in controlling water resources in the region. Formed out of a cooperation agreement between South African and Swaziland, the agency has built two large dams and is responsible for their upkeep. ■ 45 MPUMALANGA BUSINESS 2021/22

Other recent publications by Global Africa Network: