Cheers to SAB’s great investment in KZN, says eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda thanked South African Breweries for its investment in the city and subsequent expansion despite multiple disasters to hit the metro over the years.
Kaunda was speaking at the South African Breweries’ Prospecton plant in Isipingo, south of Durban on Thursday, as the city conducts engagements with major businesses.
The engagements seek to assess how these businesses are faring after the catastrophic events in and around the city over the past three years.
The Prospecton brewery has not been spared from those setbacks, the worst of which was the 2022 April floods, according to plant manager Ra’idah Vaid.
“It has not been an easy three years in the plants, the worst of which was the 2022 floods. We saw 1.6m of water in our plants and most of our equipment sits at ground floor level. It took us three weeks before we could pull up our first production line and a further six months before we were running all lines at full capacity. We’re about 99-100% capacity to date.”
Importantly, however, those setbacks did not lead to any job losses.
The brewery is the third largest in Africa and contributes half of the company’s 572 direct workforce in the province.
SAB regional director Nkanyiso Mncwabe said the company had invested about R11.7bn in South Africa over the past two years. It pledged to invest about R5.9bn during the 2022 South African Investment Conference, with R924m being spent in KZN.
“The investments went towards further expansion at our Prospecton brewery and the result is we got 40 direct permanent jobs and about 750 people employed during the construction of the projects,” he said.
“The R11.7bn that was pledged to be invested was estimated to give about 25,000 additional jobs throughout the value chain in South Africa and about R4.4bn in additional GDP for the economy.”
Vaid said the expansion project was in its final stages. She said it allowed them to produce more products in the plant.
“The expansion project is near its end and has unlocked immense potential, we now can deliver flavoured alcoholic beverages. We’re delivering three additional brands that we didn’t produce before: Flying Fish , Brutal Fruit and Smirnoff,” she said.
“We hope to expand our portfolio even further so we can provide the KZN market with products that we were previously only getting from Gauteng.”
Kaunda applauded the company’s recovery from the disasters and its subsequent expansion of the Prospecton plant.
“We’re happy at how they are diversifying their product because it also adds value in creating new opportunities and jobs in the value chain, especially to the youth.”
He noted the youthful make up of SAB’s senior management, which he said showed the company was keen to ensure it sustains its productivity and operations.
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