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Businesses pledge close to R110bn at Cyril’s third investment conference

SA looks set to achieve its ambitious investment target of R1.2trn by 2023 despite the impact of the pandemic.
Back to business... Sandton Convention Centre, a little busier on Wednesday due to the 2020 SA Investment Conference. Image: Suren Naidoo, Moneyweb

The first day of this year’s SA Investment Conference may have been hit by webcast hitches on Tuesday, but the event concluded on a surprisingly positive note on Wednesday with businesses pledging new investments totalling R109.6 billion.

More than 50 investments were announced in both greenfields and expansion projects across the country, taking investment commitments made over the past three years at the conference to R773 billion.

A notably buoyed President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his closing address at the Sandton Convention Centre that despite the impact of Covid-19, South Africa is “firmly on track to achieve its target of securing R1.2 trillion in investment over five years”.

Read: ‘SA’s private sector is not on an investment strike’

Ramaphosa set the ambitious target of securing $100 billion in new investment back in 2018 when he became head of state and the rand was trading at around R12 to the US dollar.

“We have secured new investment pledges from some 50 companies to the value of R109.6 billion. This takes total investment commitments over the last three years to R773 billion, meaning that we have achieved 64% of our five-year target,” he said.

Show of faith

The president said that while the focus of the conference this year was on the implementation of secured investments, the fact that so many new investments were secured means companies are looking to invest beyond the pandemic.

“It is notable that this year’s conference takes place in an extremely subdued economic environment [due to Covid-19],” he added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa ‘never expected’ new investment pledges to hit the R100bn mark in this most unusual of years. Image: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

“There were times at the height of the virus that we as government were asking whether we should even have the SA Investment Conference this year. We are holding this conference in a difficult time, but it is comforting to see the new investment pledges we have secured …

“We are seeing a significant amount of smaller investments, even in sectors that have been hard hit by Covid-19 such as tourism and hospitality,” Ramaphosa noted.

He hailed the conference as a success with 1 700 participants (mainly joining virtually) and a broad spread of investments in sectors including mining, manufacturing, agri-processing, automotive, ICT, petro-chemicals and tourism.

Read: SA sees just over $5bn in FDI in 2019 – UNCTAD report

“I never expected that we would hit the R100 billion mark for new investment pledges secured this year. To put a hybrid conference [virtual and face-to-face plenary sessions] like this together is not easy,” he said, probably alluding to the technical difficulties that took place on the first day of the event.

Earlier pledges now invested

Earlier in his opening plenary address, Ramaphosa said that of the around R664 billion in commitments secured at the previous two investment conferences in 2018 and 2019, around R172 billion had already been invested.

“The sector that has seen the greatest flow of investment from these commitments is mining and mineral beneficiation, with just over R63.6 billion having been spent to date. The flow of investment into the ICT sector currently stands at R31 billion. Our automotive sector has attracted some R23 billion,” he said.

Mining giant Anglo American is the largest single investor.

Group chair Nolitha Fakude noted in one of the sessions on Wednesday that around R57 billion of its R85 billion commitment made in 2018 has already been invested.  The group announced at the event that its investment pledge has now been increased to R100 billion.

JSE-listed Aspen Pharmacare, which announced an investment of R3.4 billion in 2018, said that most of these funds have already been invested into its new plant in Port Elizabeth. According to the Durban-based group, this represents the single biggest investment in the history of South Africa’s pharmaceutical industry and coincidently the plant will be manufacturing Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 candidate vaccine.

Read: Aspen to make Covid-19 vaccine candidate

During his address, Ramaphosa also noted Aspen Pharmacare’s expansion venture as one of the first investment pledges at the inaugural SA Investment conference. He hailed the group’s preliminary agreement with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture and package its Covid-19 candidate vaccine.

“Aspen has been able to build further capability to manufacture vaccines following the investment commitment they announced at our inaugural conference. This would position the Eastern Cape as a global hub for the manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products,” he said.

Projects amid the pandemic

Ramaphosa noted that of the 105 investment pledges made by local and international businesses at the previous two investment conferences, 21 projects have been delayed or put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These projects represent around 10% of the total commitments (R664 billion in 2018 and 2019).

“This means that despite the severe disruption of the last few months, the vast majority of projects are making steady progress,” he said.

“Significantly, these investments are taking place throughout the country, with projects planned or underway in all eight metropolitan municipalities and 26 district municipalities in all provinces.”

Listen: Nompu Siziba interviews Jacko Maree, one of the president’s investment envoys

Source: Department of Trade Industry and Competition

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Take it from who it comes. Our leader does not come across as the most honest.

There has been no jobs created. Example is retooling an existing plant for a new model car. How does it create new jobs??

Like Old Mutual moving a listing back to the JSE is counted as FDI.

Whahahaaa. Old Cyril??? The showman. The good news man. The sugar coater. The twisting the truth guy. The ANC socialist cadre. The professional beneficiary.

Stop the conferences, start the structural and policy reforms.

True. But the ANC’s definition of “structural reforms” is different than us business-minded citizens, holding on to a western value system.

Pledges versus Donation. I am always fascinated by people never noticing the difference between donations & pledges.

Donations are paid in real time & have tangible identifiable recipients whereas pledges are normally not defined in time nor do we most of the time hear that they were paid, you get the PR

You hit it on the nail. Lets see the pledge become hard cash. Most will be derailed by red tape, bureauocracy and requests for under the table handouts.

Any one can say “yes I am in but at crunch time 90% are MIA.

He is no DONALD TRUMP !! Promises made, promises kept! Here in S A the looting continues under the guise of lockdowns!! Hasn’t the country been Zuma’d enough??????????Would you invest here??? Just asking

In reality, every business like Government will push to have investments materialise and help the investee companies to move in. The only newsworthy development being reported on, is that this list gets longer. Why does our President not support, reporting the real facts regarding these pledges and the reason for non implementation. This kind of money will only be invested in a favourable and friendly economic climate. Poster Boy Ramaphosa and Mboweni are not enough! An able and willing Government will make it happen. Which obviously begs the question, how about the unions? Latter has long forgot the principle; boast about supportive and business like achievements in stead of bullying. For a case study, look no further than Eskom?

What about the R1 trillion that needs to just be recovered from the ANC cadres and captors (like the Guptas)?

I don’t see that on the list!

Forgetting all the SME & Micro businesses (like myself) who would in any case continue to operate in SA, as before: Cyril, we also ‘pledge’ that we’ll spend part of our net (after tax) profits on consumer items…to boost economy (like we always did).

This could add a number of billions to the original pledge.

Whoo–hoo….we saved the economy! 🙂

(OK, the session is now over for the Daycare/Nursery school, government can now go outside and play)

This is the CRAZY WORLD we’re living in:

March 2020: “….we are now going into LOCKDOWN. You CANNOT operate your business for half a year…”

November 2020: “…we need businesses to operate at 110% capacity…”

The same guy that has been “fixing” ESKOM for a decade now. Incidentally the same decade things at ESKOM went from bad to worse.

From bad to FUBAR.

Anyone else think it odd that China is not on the list? Thought they were our newest best buddy.

Also find it hard to believe that Sasol is on the list, when they are struggling with cash flow and have still not recovered from their adventures in the USA.

China can’t work with BBBEE, Zero productivity and entitlement.

How do you spot an ambush? This is a very serious matter. A matter of life and death for a soldier, and a matter of financial survival for a capitalist investor. The spoor is fresh, not old. No natural sounds or movements from birds or wild animals. You patrol is moving on a wide, well-trodden footpath, surrounded by dense shrub and bush. When you see the broken twigs and branches that were used to camouflage the ambush and the tripwire of the claymore mine that is set up to explode down the footpath, in your direction, then it is too late. This is why a patrol uses a patrol dog with its great sense of smell to provide advance warning of the ambush and to save the lives of the soldiers. Your life depends on the health of that dog.

A financial ambush is camouflaged with promises from socialist politicians. They promise you the moon and stars. They entice you with the social benefits that your money will bring to the community. The jobs you will create, the schools you will build and the contributions you will make to the local communities. Once inside the ambush, they plunder your assets through BEE legislation, they plunder your profit margin with redistributive rates and taxes and militant labour unions with their exorbitant wage demands. They strangle you with unaffordable and unreliable electricity. They decimate your capital structure with bad service delivery, no water supply, broken sewer pipes, potholes and a dilapidated railway system.

Where the soldier uses a patrol dog, the investor uses property rights. The investor uses the legal framework, law and order, and the strength of property rights to provide advance warning of a financial ambush. BEE legislation, and various other socialist policies, are infringements of property rights that scare the hell out of investors. Your life as an investor depends on the strength of those property rights.

The Investment Congress is a skillfully camouflaged ambush by socialists, for capitalists.

Dear Mr President Ramaphosa,
You and your organisation has created a Welfare State with more people than in poverty than ever before. The planned economy and welfare state have procured goods and services for the people which will not satisfy their needs and wants, you have made the people dependant on the state hence the entitlement and misery of which SA ranks 7th highest in the world together with an infective judicial system of only 38%, people have lost their way; their true identity and the zombification of their behaviour is prevalent in their collective response.

If you would truly like to see South Africa become the country that is not only the gateway to Africa but the real African Dream then Action not talk shows need to take place.

The Solution:
Remove all taxes, replace with a Single Transaction Tax of 18+1% (5% for government administration, 7% for law and order, 6% for Maintenance and Development and 1% for debt forgiveness with a ban on all new debts)
Remove all welfare programs and subsidies including Housing; Electricity; Water; Healthcare; Schooling; replace this with Universal Basic Income of R6,200.00 person over the age of 16
Privatise all State Owned Enterprises.

I hope there is a proviso from all these potential donors that not one red cent is to go towards the rehabilitation of SAA.
In my opinion, The only way The South African economy has any chance of sustaining survival is
– repatriate the stolen Zupta monies
– can SAA once and for all
– reduce Gov, salaries and workforce
– encourage and reward birth control
– reintroduce Annual paid conscription for those not studying after school to learn aTrade and other life lessons
– stop racist BEE policies and encourage companies to employ those right for the job based on experience and expertise not on the colour of their skin
– expect companies to take on interns (based on at least 2% of their work force)
This might all sound naive but we have to start somewhere – promises, talk and conferences are just not enough any more. Actions speak louder than words.

And…in addition…also…
I don’t see any pledges from the banking institutions or Naspers, BHP or ARM for that matter – am I missing something?
Unless you get the heavy hitters onboard, this ain’t going nowhere!

Well done .. small steps CR. Hopefully your foot soldiers don’t siphon the monies when they materialise. I would nominate an audit firm (or two) to make sure the monies goes to the intended places at the correct amounts and leakage, not inflated.

The likes of IDC (government institution) giving 8 billion does not sit well.

How much of this is sustaining capital? Why is Gold Fields still waiting after 3 years to get approval for self-generation?
The article does not mention that the the virtual portal software did not work at the start of the conference, which illustrates the ineptitude of this government.
Noise emanating from a talk shop does not change my strategy which is informed by 25 years of ANC government. Probably the same for business.
Who in their right mind would trust them to deliver a long drop, never mind economic policy which works in the real world?

Two can play the same game CR and his mates have already reneged on previous promises business will do the same.
According to Dawie Roodt 2 million jobs have been lost in the private sector since Jan 2020 and none in government.
Who in their right mind wants to give away 51% to BE before they even get
Just as a footnote i was at a major police station yesterday and they did not have a photocopier to give me a copy of a doc i was collecting, had to go to a nearby garage to make a copy LOL just about sums up how this country is run

Fantastic news (I hope) the ZAR should be under R15/USD and the JSE booming; capital appreciation and dividend flow. Dreaming?

I would like to see some analysis of the “investments” noting that by far the greatest amount of R32bn is a nebulous company NDB?, country of origin BRICS? and projects “multiple”. Just below it is R8bn from the IDC on “various” projects.

Smells just a tad fishy. But let us see.

Press Ramaphosa and the ANC are low on integrity.

However, we are taking many baby steps in the right direction.

Like most things involving CR don’t expect much to happen.

When are they going to learn? It doesn’t take a few companies with R100 Billion to turn the economy, create an environment that people “want” to live in, decent education, decent honest policing and most of all the government doing their job – which after all is only creating and maintaining services for the people. Then watch what happens.

Good to see the Really Epic Dog Group coming to the party.

R110 Billion is $5.5 Billion.
Very small.

I’m starting to believe that the damage that Zuma created cannot be fixed anymore.

End of comments.





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