Publication: Sunday Independent Issued: Date: 2004-10-03 Reporter: Phomello Molwedi

Corvette Deal has Spin-Offs for Low-Cost Housing



Sunday Independent

Date 2004-10-03


Phomello Molwedi

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South Africa's drive to conquer housing backlogs and create work has received a major boost form the re-equipment of the country's navy under the government's strategic defence procurement package.

As part of the government's industrial participation (IP) strategy, ThyssenKrupp AG - the commercial partner in the German Frigate Consortium that has built four corvettes for the navy - has entered a partnership with local entities to build an industrial plant able to produce 15 000 high-tech, low-income houses a year.

The factory will be built at Phokeng near Rustenburg as a joint venture between The Royal Bafokeng Administration , ABC Cash Plus limited, a company listed in the JSE Alternative Exchange, and ThyssenKrupp.

Bruno Seabela, the spokesperson for the Royal Bafokeng Administration, said th project had the blessing of Kgosi Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi, king of the Bafokeng, who had seen a prototype of the house.

According to Seabela, Molotlegi had determined that the first 5000 houses would be built in his area and would be available to the Bafokeng people and the workforce on the mines and industries in the area.

Seabela said a show house had already been completed in Phokeng.

"With His Majesty [Molotlegi] already having seen and approved the house, we expect enormous interest," he said.

The partners have agreed to jointly invest about R60 million.

Under IP regulations, the investment sum and the sales volumes arising out of the venture will be credited against the German Frigate Consortium's IP obligations.

The requirements oblige overseas defence contractors to ensure inward investment into South African industry capable of growing the domestic and export economies.

Christoph Hoenings, responsible for ThyssenKrupp's IP programmes, said the Phokeng plant would produce two-bedroomed, 49 square metre houses with separate living , kitchen and bathroom areas that qualify for government subsidies and meet South African and German safety and quality standards.

"They can be erected within four days by small and micro-enterprises subcontracted to the manufacturer," Hoenings said.

With acknowledgements to Phomello Molwedi and The Sunday Independent.