NEWS ROUNDUP R7BN BOOST FOR UNIVERSITY INFRASTRUCTURE Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has announced major new investment in university infrastructure, which will see government spending R7 billion on a range of projects countrywide. Minister Nzimande said the investment will be spent over the next two years on new student housing, laboratories, communications technology, and other essential facilities, as well as essential maintenance and the further expansion of the new universities. It also includes R1 billion per year into the new Mpumalanga University and Sol Plaatjie University in the Northern Cape. Nzimande also announced that a further R2.5 billion has been targeted to the historically disadvantaged universities
for over the next five years so that they can realise their full academic potential, while shaking off their historic image as the academic orphans of apartheid. The Minister said government is committed to strengthening, developing and broadening access to universities, as is visible in the doubling of student numbers over the past 20 years. “Investment in infrastructure, including teaching and research spaces, equipment and conducive student living environments is key to ensuring that the universities can deliver on their empowerment mandate. This approach required a particular commitment to improving living and learning conditions in the historically disadvantaged
institutions,” Minister Nzimande said. The Minister’s announcement of a massive boost in university infrastructure spending, builds on the significant progress achieved since 2007 through the department’s Infrastructure and Efficiency Grant. This has in the past 10 years seen R14.87 billion spent on ensuring that the universities have adequate infrastructure to ensure growth in priority areas such as science, technology and engineering, animal and human health sciences, and teacher education programs. All universities across the country have benefited from this investment, with historically disadvantaged institutions prioritised since 2010 for a greater proportion of the funding.
KZN TO GET TITANIUM BENEFICIATION PLANT KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu says the announcement of a R4.5 billion investment in the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) confirms that KwaZulu-Natal is a preferred destination for foreign direct investment. The Leader of Government Business and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Sihle Zikalala, last month presided over the strategic partners signing ceremony, which was attended by captains of industry and members of the diplomatic corps representing New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Germany. The partnership involving RBIDZ, Nyanza Light Metals and New Zealand based company, Avertana Ltd, paves the way for the construction of a titanium beneficiation plant. “This positive news will boost business confidence and help attract
more investment into the province. Such developments are important, given the fact that there are fears of a recession resulting from the downgrading of South Africa. “We acknowledge that we are not the only nation in the world that has had to adjust to the harshness of the impact of recession and other global economic challenges such as downgrading by rating agencies. Over the past years, we have been working hard to help our people to survive through the rough storm… This investment will help to create more jobs for our people,” said Premier Mchunu. Speaking at the signing ceremony and representing the Premier, MEC Zikalala said they are excited that RBIDZ will now host this strategic plant, which will help to ensuring that KwaZuluNatal remains a national leader in the production of chemicals.
“The plant will produce titanium dioxide pigment, a product used in paint, toothpaste and colourants for food products. The construction of the plant will commence next year, while production is expected to begin in late 2019. “The Department of Trade and Industry extended a grant of R17.1 million to the company for feasibility studies and has also approved an investment allowance of R900 million. “We appreciate the news that about 550 permanent jobs will be created when the Nyanza plant is operational and that 1200 indirect and 800 direct jobs will be created during construction,” MEC Zikalala said. The RBIDZ, with the financial assistance of the SEZ Fund of the dti, is also funding and managing projects involving the widening of Alumina Allee Road and the upgrading of the municipal industries substation.
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