A SUCCESSFUL partnership between government and the private sector came to fruition yesterday with the official opening of the R100-million expansion of the Clover long-life milk production plant in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Incoming Bay deputy mayor Chippa Ngcolomba said at the opening ceremony at the plant in Perseverance that this was a major step in fighting poverty and creating jobs in the region.
The municipality and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation were instrumental in convincing Clover to invest in the area.
Clover has since committed capital investment of R100- million to expand their existing long-life milk production facilities in Port Elizabeth.
The facility forms part of Project Cielo Blu, announced at Clover’s listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in December 2010, and has increased its production capacity from 100 million units a year to 178 million.
“We considered a number of locations which had to meet Project Cielo Blu’s investment criteria. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s investment promotion initiative offered a compelling proposition, which settled our decision,” Clover chairman Werner Buchner said.
“This is the kind of partnerships in action that our country needs in order to deal with the challenges as highlighted in the National Development Plan, the challenges of poverty, unemployment and growing inequalities,” Ngcolomba said.
“This investment is an outcome of a private-public partnership that has resulted in more than 100 people employed today. Working together shows what we can do to liberate our people out of hunger and poverty.”
These jobs include 17 skilled, 45 semi- skilled and 40 unskilled opportunities for local residents.
“More importantly, Clover has spent 711 days on training and skills transfer since 2011,” Buchner said.
He said the additional milk production platform was relocated from Midrand in Gauteng to bring it closer to the milk source, which is in the Eastern Cape, thereby improving efficiencies while reducing transport requirements.
The environment was also taken into consideration by using new technologies which resulted in a decrease of 27% in water consumption and a 36% decrease in energy usage when compared to the old Midrand plant.
There was also scope for future development at the plant, with additional warehousing plans in the pipeline.
A 10 000 pallet station warehouse valued at R70-million is expected to be completed by October. The warehouse will be used to store milk before it is transported to Clover’s customers across the country.
There are also plans for a cheese factory in the pipeline, but Buchner could not give information about this project.
“We will continue to fight tirelessly to ensure that there is food and shelter for all our community members, and in that fight we need the support of the private sector as per the case today with Clover,” Ngcolomba said.
“We will ensure that you [Clover] do not regret making this decision [to invest in the metro].”