The Chinese originated investment into a tile manufacturing operation in Bronkhorstspruit, East of Pretoria, is promising R600m expansion between 2015 and 2016 in a development that will boost employment in the facility from 350 to about 1400.
The plan was unveiled by the deputy minister of trade and industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, who is due to tour the Rayal Porcelain Tile Company plant today. The project has previously been surrounded by controversy over apparent overuse of Chinese originated labour at the expense of local workers, a concern which has characterised other Chinese investments across the continent.
Announcing her visit Thabethe said “Rayal Tile has invested R250 million in its Bronkhorstspruit operations to date and is aiming to introduce three more production lines between 2015/16 with a total investment of R600 million, which will increase their workforce to 1400 employees.”
The department of trade and industry statement said Thabethe’s visit to No. 14 Galela Street, Ekandustria Bronkhorstspruit, was designed to see what the company has done in order to contribute to employment creation and skills development. “This is after the company was assisted by the DTI to set up in the country.”
Rayal Porcelain Tile Company which currently employs 350 South Africans from the neighbouring EKangala Township supplies tiles to Tile Africa, Builders Warehouse, Itali Tile and Ceramic Tile Market.”
The DTI said the visit comes as a follow up to Thabethe’s bilateral meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of Rayal Tile, Yi John Zhu in Shanghai last year during the South African Expos in China.
Thabethe said “We welcome such investments in the country as they assist us in realising our goal of creating employment and developing skills of our people. These are indeed the fruits of our efforts to encourage international businesses to invest in our country and to make South Africa the preferred destination for investment. Together we move South Africa forward,” said Thabethe.”