KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu on Tuesday said he was confident the R85 billion investment to build a smelter park would usher in a new era characterised by employment and prosperity in the province.
The CS Smelter Park, an investment made through the BRICS countries, is earmarked to develop a privately owned coal-fired power station that will be built in three phases of 300MW each.
Speaking during a sod-turning ceremony marking the beginning of a construction of the CS Smelter Park in Colenso, Ladysmith, Mchunu said his government wanted the electricity supply sector to play a pivotal role in the provincial energy economy.
Mchunu said the Phase 1 of the CS Smelter Park project would attract foreign direct investment of about R39.1 billion.
He said the project would give KZN a strategic asset and fit very well with provincial plans to ensure that energy becomes a tool for the eradication of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
“What is even more encouraging is that there is an estimated R30 billion annual contribution towards the province’s Gross Domestic Products. This will ensure that we maintain our position as the second contributor towards the national GDP behind Gauteng,” Mchunu said in a statement.
“More than 8 000 direct jobs will be created for the local community during the construction and more than 12 000 indirect jobs will be created over a five-year period.”
Mchunu was joined by the provincial leader of government business, Sihle Zikalala, and management of CS Smelter Park and investors from China.
He said this was an important step for the province as power supply had a bearing on the socioeconomic development.
“The importance of energy supply sector lie both in improving the quality of life for the previously disadvantaged majority as well as supporting large-scale industrial development.”
“It is interesting to note that the assessment which was made in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) indicated that the most of the countries which did not meet the MDGs are those with less energy access.”
– African News Agency