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An energy hub for the country Pumi Motsoahae, CEO of Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, explains why the allocation of a gas plant could be a game-changer.

Pumi Motsoahae

Does the RBIDZ have a role in promoting industrialisation? We are at the heart of the government’s programme of industrialisation. At the onset of the democratic dispensation, there were enduring questions on the economic side. Empowerment and enterprise development arose out of that, and then there was a programme to promote industrialisation. What are your focus sectors?

BIOGRAPHY Pumi Motsoahae has extensive experience in ports, shipping, logistics, freight transportation, infrastructure, property acquisition and project management. He began his studies at the National University of Lesotho (BA Administration), gained his Masters in Town and Regional Planning from the University of Natal (1993 – 1994) and studied in the Netherlands for a PostGraduate Diploma in Shipping, Transportation and Logistics. He has also completed an Executive Development Programme (Supply-chain Management) at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

While investigating the features that would attract investors we looked at metals beneficiation, given the heritage of the area with Richards Bay being the home to the largest aluminium smelter in the Southern Hemisphere (South32) and two heavy sands mines (Rio Tinto and Tronox). We are very strong in the ICT sector. We are spearheading an effort to create a pilot TechnoPark. Hosting the Maritime Academy, together with a focus on ICT, affords the opportunity for innovation and for creative young minds to flourish. The Richards Bay area is surrounded by high-yielding agricultural lands. We can harness that potential through agro-processing. We have set aside a notional 10ha area for a processing plant. Are you looking at renewable energy? Absolutely. We want Richards Bay to be the energy hub of the country. In April 2015, we signed Byromate (Ptd) Ltd to produce 60MW from biomass. We are targeting companies to manufacture solar panels here. There is a phenomenal opportunity to become an energy hub because of our geographic location near offshore gas fields. Last year we were awarded the production of 2 000MW from gas by the IPP office of the Department of Energy. We are quite excited about that. Please tell us about your most recent inward investments? We have quite a healthy investment pipeline. A total of R11.9-billion has been approved since 2013. Recent investments include Nyanza Light Metals (titanium dioxide plant, R4.5-billion), Sizabantu Piping System – SPS Molecor (comprehensive range of high-pressure PVC - O pipes, R300-million) and in other sectors such as logistics (Lovemore Brothers) and paint manufacturer (Prostar Paints).



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