Rob Shuter, CEO of MTN. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Rob Shuter, CEO of MTN. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

A range of companies, including cellphone giant MTN, paper producer Sappi, and state-owned logistics firm Transnet have promised billions in new investments in SA. 

During the investment conference being held in Sandton on Wednesday November 6, MTN pledged to invest R50bn in the coming five years, its CEO Rob Shuter announced, while Transnet promised R22.6bn, and Sappi pledged R14bn in new capital. 

The conference is the second held by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration, aimed at securing R1.2-trillion in new investment in SA over the next five years. Further announcements are expected later in the day.

Alongside company investments, new development funds for both the agriculture and automotive sectors were announced. Through the newly established SA Agriculture Development Agency (SAADA), about R12.9bn will be used to develop and promote the industry, including support for subsistence and emerging farmers. 

An automotive industry transformation fund was launched, with R6bn pledged to support black participation in the automotive industry supply chain.

Last year’s conference saw pledges of almost R300bn and the announcement of 31 projects. During his opening address, Ramaphosa said eight of these projects have been completed while a further 17 are in the construction and implementation phase. This represents a total of R238bn of last year’s committed funds. 

Since the last investment gathering, the country’s growth has continued to stagnate and power supply issues have further threatened growth. The state’s fiscal position has also continued to deteriorate as financial support to battling state-owned entities (SOEs) has strained the government’s finances. 

In his address, Ramaphosa committed to returning the country to a sustainable fiscal path and highlighted the efforts made to stabilise the energy sector and restructure state power producer Eskom. 

Despite the challenges, Shuter said during his pledge that the MTN remains “an absolute believer that SA is going to rise and prosper in the years ahead”.

donnellyl@businesslive.co.za