Employees of the newly launched steel manufacturing factory in Thaba Nchu in the Free State say the opening of the Rui Star Iron-Steel Plant is giving residents renewed hope for job opportunities.
Over R300 million has been invested in the smelting plant. The company has the capacity to employ over 500 people and is set to create more jobs.
A total of 150 jobs have been created. 148 of those employed are locals of Thaba Nchu and two others are from the nearby Botshabelo.
The factory sources scrap metal from across the country to process it into steel and iron for the domestic and export market.
Construction of the factory started in 2021 and was officially launched last week. The workforce is currently in training.
Factory manager Haoqiang Gao says, “Firstly, [it] is a safety training like what not to do to make sure that [workers] are safe when they’re working here, that’s the first priority of the policies. Secondly, is the different metal sorting, metal tasting and I would say basic chemical skill training. And, some of the specific smelter training.”
The supervisor at the factory says operations will bring much-needed economic improvement to the community.
Factory supervisor, Minaesele Tladi says, “I am happy because of it’s been a while since I was not working … and there are a lot of guys here who really need this job.”
The Department of Economic Development says eradicating joblessness is its priority. It says this investment is a clear demonstration that it’s on a mission to attract more investors to grow the Free State economy.
Free State Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, MEC Thabo Meeko says, “We had to appreciate that one of the our area of work in terms of the economy is trade and investment created you money. Because we said there is a need to create new money in the Free State economy given the challenges.”
“I don’t want to waste time on those unemployment challenges, poverty and inequalities. The smelter project in Thaba Nchu is an investment to the value of about R33 million department contributed around R11 million.”
Meeko says the province is pursuing investors to invest in various municipalities in the province.
The investment from Hangda Steel, which is based in the people’s Republic of China, flows from the investment drive by the South Africa investment conference.
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