American multinational consumer goods firm Procter and Gamble (P&G) has launched a new manufacturing line at its Pampers facility in Kempton Park that will produce the Pampers Premium Care diaper range.
The investment forms part of P&G’s R130 million investment pledge at the fifth South African Investment Conference which took place earlier this year. It brings the firm’s cumulative investment in the country to R900 million to date.
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The firm owns well-known household brands like Vicks, Gillette and Oral-B, and already manufactures three of its brands in South Africa, the other two being Always feminine products and Ariel laundry detergents.
“The commissioning of this innovative manufacturing line not only underscores P&G’s commitment to South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030, but also showcases our efforts at narrowing the gap in inequality through our efforts on job creation, inclusive growth, innovation, technology transfer, value creation and human capital development,” P&G’s president for Asia Pacific and Africa Stanislav Vecera said at the launch on Tuesday.
Although it wasn’t clear the exact number of jobs the new line will create for the Gauteng economy, Vecera did highlight that P&G’s South Africa operations – along with those of its partners – have contributed over 4 000 direct and indirect jobs to the economy over the years.
“Over 70% of our brands sold in South Africa are manufactured locally while [also] exporting to neighbouring countries,” Vecera said, adding that the firm is looking to expand its economic contribution to South Africa and subsequently the rest of the continent once the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement is implemented.
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SA’s investment case
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who attended the launch of the new manufacturing line, said the development proves that South Africa remains the preferred investment destination for big business on the continent.
This despite the blow being dealt to the country’s economy by the continuing power crisis, dysfunctional rail and port system, and decrepit infrastructure.
“South Africa is an investment destination with significant untapped potential,” said Ramaphosa.
“We have the ability to attract higher levels of investment and we look forward to working with Procter & Gamble on its future pipeline of investments.
“While investment decisions often take several years to reach fruition, the investment commitments made to date have already resulted in substantial investment into the productive economy and have created jobs.
“Procter & Gamble has heeded our call and has sought to increase the participation of small South African businesses in its value chains. We are encouraged by the company’s commitment to sourcing local materials, reducing waste, promoting skills development and creating more roles for women in the company,” he added.
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The expansion of P&G’s operations in the country will bode well for Gauteng’s economic development and the reindustrialisation of the province, with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi welcoming the boost the new production line will bring to the City of Ekurhuleni.
“I can assure you, as the leadership of P&G, that our municipality here is back on its feet and that all the minor challenges that we had of electricity, water and many other things, especially the strengthening of our roads in this particular area, will be areas of history.
“We are committed to ensuring that all of our industrial areas continue to have undisrupted electricity but most importantly services that are coming from municipalities,” Lesufi added.
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