Skip to main content

Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the opening of the Tetra Pak Carton Packaging Plant in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal

Programme Director;
Premier of Kwa Zulu Natal, Ms. Nomusa Dube-Ncube;
His Excellency Hakan Juholt, Ambassador of Sweden to South Africa; 
Managing Director of Tetra Pak Southern Africa, Mr. Klaus Plenge;
Tetra Pak staff;
Ladies and gentlemen;

Good afternoon.

It is a pleasure to be here at the reopening of this expanded Tetra Pak facility that will support our goals as government and business to create jobs, drive innovation, promote localisation and advance the low-carbon, circular economy.

This factory upgrade forms part of a R500 million investment by Tetra Pak in the South African economy, that in turn forms part of the Presidential Investment Mobilisation Drive.

When we set our R1,2 trillion target in 2018 we knew it was an ambitious one, and also that investment decisions often take several years to come to fruition. 

Today’s launch is one of many promising signals of investment commitments being practically realised. 

A substantial number of other commitments made by domestic and international investors have resulted in brick-and-mortar projects across South Africa since 2018.

Despite a strained domestic and global economic climate, this factory expansion demonstrates that South Africa continues to be an attractive destination for investors.

This gives us renewed impetus as government to forge ahead with our partnership as government and business to overcome challenges in the energy, logistics and other sectors. 

The structural reforms we have been driving as this administration will in the long-term result in wide-ranging, transformative change across the South African economy, and improve the business operating environment.

Tetra Pak has announced that through this expansion it will be exporting products to the continent. This export potential amounts to approximately R500 m annually.

This is very timely, given South Africa’s recent commencement of trade under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area or AfCFTA. Exports to the rest of Africa already include Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Nigeria and Kenya. We have no doubt this expanded facility will be able to harness the benefits of the AfCFTA.

Tetra Pak is a global leader in packaging and processing solutions for the food industry and has had a presence and manufacturing footprint in South Africa since 1963. 

This factory was originally built 45 years ago, in 1979, and its longevity is testament to the power of innovation. 

From the early days of producing standard packaging solutions like the humble milk carton, its scope has broadened over the years as Tetra Pak adopted new technologies, particularly to bring them in line with global efforts towards less carbon intensive production processes.

Now Tetra Pak South Africa has reached a new milestone, with this being the only facility in Africa that will produce carton aseptic packaging for the domestic market and for export to the continent.

This is a boost of confidence in our localisation programme. I’m pleased to hear that Tetra Pak is now under the Proudly South African umbrella, having received your certification last week.

The expansion of this facility will enable Tetra Pak to produce 80 per cent of its packaging material locally, compared to approximately 60 per cent in the past, when most of the material sold locally was imported from other Tetra Pak facilities around the world.

As more manufacturing capacity and expertise is retained here, new industries, businesses and value chains are able to emerge and be supported on South African soil. As a consequence, our efforts to build a more inclusive economy are boosted.

Customers will have the benefit of a broader range, the turnaround times for customer deliveries will be faster, and the factory will be able to better respond to the evolving needs of customers and the market.  

Localisation is about so much more than improving domestic industrial capacity. Localisation also ensures that jobs are created in South Africa, and that jobs are retained in South Africa. 

I am told that this upgraded plant will now have the capacity to produce 1,8 billion packs annually, utilising the labour of 99 employees.

I wish to commend Tetra Pak for not wavering in its commitment to create and retain jobs across their local operations, even as the production of solutions and products has become increasingly automated.

In line with your corporate social responsibility, you also continue to invest in the education, skilling and training of your employees, as well as providing a bursary scheme for their dependants. We commend you for this.

Tetra Pak is also playing its part in advancing a low-carbon, circular economy. This is being done by adopting innovative production processes, and through the company’s commitment to recycling. This factory adopts the global best practice followed at our other facilities worldwide and I am told you are aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030.

I congratulate Tetra Pak once more on this milestone and thank you for your ongoing confidence in South Africa. 

South Africa is an investment destination with significant untapped potential, and by leveraging our unique value proposition, we have the ability to attract higher levels of investment.

We look forward to working with you as Tetra Pak on your future pipeline of investments and hopefully on new announcements at the forthcoming South Africa Investment Conferences.

I thank you.

 Union Building