Media Release: Yangtze Optics Africa Cable invests R150 million towards local optical fibre cable manufacturing in South Africa
Construction of a new R150 million optical fibre cable manufacturing facility takes off, scheduled for completion in October this year.
13 May 2016, South Africa: Today Yangtze Optics Africa Cable (YOA) held an official breaking-ground ceremony for its new optical fibre cable manufacturing facility in South Africa, potentially set to become the largest in the country.
Situated within Dube TradePort’s Special Economic Zone at La Mercy, KwaZulu-Natal, in a building owned by Shree Property Holdings, the new manufacturing facility comprises a R150 million investment by Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Limited Company (YOFC), from the People’s Republic of China, and Mustek Limited, its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment partner and JSE-listed company.
Pieter Viljoen, Chief Executive Officer of Yangtze Optics Africa Cable said: “A comprehensive range of new generation optical fibre cable products will be manufactured locally after the completion of the facility, for both the South African ICT market, as well as key export markets in West and East Africa.”
“With an envisaged manufacturing capacity of more than one million fibre kilometres, Yangtze Optics Africa Cable will play a significant role in enabling South Africa’s development of a sustainable broadband future. This is especially important, given the shortfall with regard to current and envisaged demand from new Fibre to the Home (FTTH) project announcements and cellular operators’ migration to 4G and LTE services versus supply,” says Viljoen.
According to Viljoen, the demand for optical fibre cable products, specifically for FTTH undertakings, significantly outstrips local availability.
“The company will supply optical fibre cable and FTTH solutions to the local telecommunications market, including industry players, such as Telkom, Neotel, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Vumatel and Link Africa, amongst others. We are targeting both the public and private sectors, with the aim of significantly bringing down the cost of optical fibre cable in the country.
“Local manufacturing with a secured supply chain and an increase in the number of players in this space will be critical in bringing down local costs,” said Viljoen.
Speaking at the event, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mr. Michael Mabuyakhulu, welcomed the decision by Yangtze Optics Africa Cable (YOAC) to establish a manufacturing plant at Dube TradePort.
Mabuyakhulu said the investment has given the province’s vision of taking its internet connectivity to the next level a shot in the arm.
“This R150m fibre optic investment by Yangtze Optics Africa demonstrates the massive growth potential within KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as a whole as we gear up to meet our goal of ensuring universal internet access; as KwaZulu-Natal, we have already we committed ourselves to accelerating access to broadband connectivity across the province, since last year we have rolled out over 14000 kilometres fibre optic cable, which currently connects every hospital in the province including 119 clinics and 1 624 schools. In addition to this, we have initiated another project that seeks to establish Wi-Fi hotspots in strategic areas across the province,” Mabuyakhulu said.
The new manufacturing facility is expected to create approximately 150 new jobs. High-level technical skills development will be at the forefront of the company’s skills development programme and a number of employees will be identified for specific skills transfer initiatives, including opportunities to travel to China to gain greater knowledge about the manufacturing of optical fibre cable.
Mr Yunus Hoosen, the Acting Head of InvestSA said, “The YOCA investment further signifies that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination across all sectors including advanced manufacturing and reinforces our collaboration on a bilateral level with China.”
He further added that “InvestSA remains ready and committed to assist foreign and domestic investors in realizing their investment in South Africa.”
According to Zhuang Dan, Chief Executive Officer of Yangtze Optical and Cable (YOFC), China “Yangtze Optics Africa Cable has committed itself to a four-year skills development plan to expand local skills in specialist roles, such as cable manufacturing, while the opportunity for employees to travel to China will provide vital exposure to new methods of doing things,” says
“Our aim is to expand this approach to other African countries and create a pool of local skills across Africa that investors can tap into, should the need arise. Optical fibre cable broadband technologies are the future and Africa presents opportunities for future investments. We are preparing for a boom in African investments and want to be ready to provide solutions that will help enable that growth,” Mr Zhuang Dan added.
He referred to a commitment made by the Chinese Head of State, President Xi Jinping, at the Forum on Africa-China Cooperation, held in South Africa last year. According to the “Trans Africa Information Superhighway” blueprint presented at the Forum, a total of 150 000 km of optical fibre cable network is to be built over the next several years, with the intention of covering 82 major African cities across 48 countries and connecting 1,1 billion people on the continent.
The Yangtze Optics Africa Cable optical fibre cable manufacturing facility is scheduled for completion in October 2016 and the recruitment and training of key technical staff is set to commence in September this year. The 15000m2 manufacturing facility is expected to be fully operational by January 2017.
Mr Pran Shree, Chief Executive Officer of Shree Property Holdings, believes YOA’s new development will be an ideal addition to Shree Property Holdings as it will be surrounded by Blue-Chip manufacturers in the Special Economic Zone.
He said, “It will also go a long way towards increasing employment opportunities in the region’s development corridor north of Durban.”
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