Chinese automobile company pledges to invest in Free State

South Africa: Premier of the Free State province, Sefora Ntombela, this morning met with the Consul–General of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Zhongdong Tang, in Johannesburg, Gauteng province.

The Premier was accompanied by the Director General of the Free State Provincial Government, Kopung Ralikontsane. The visit by Premier Ntombela comes nearly two months after Consul–the General visited the Free State province, where he pledged donations for the victims of the 11 September Jaggersfontein mine disaster which left at least two people dead, one missing and dozens displaced.

This morning’s visit once again saw a donation, to the sum of R200,000, being made to the people of Jaggersfontein. General Manager of Haval Motors South Africa Kevin Lee, in addition to the monetary donation, also pledged that they were strongly considering investing in the Free State province.

Mr Lee said that a battery manufacturing plant was top of their agenda, adding that once discussions are completed with the government, work would commence on setting up the plant.

Premier Ntombela said the Free State Provincial Government would, in the year 2023, put focus on the following:

• Agriculture
• Information and Communication Technology.

The Premier also took the opportunity to inform the Chinese contingent about Obakeng Thetele, a young man from Mangaung who set tongues wagging after building his own car last year.

Having heard all the wonderful things Premier Ntombela said about young Thetele, Mr Lee promised that they would invite him to their head office and also to their plant in China. Premier Ntombela concluded that all these measures were intended to create much needed employment in the Free State province.

“The unemployment levels went down slightly from 35 % to 32% in our province. We acknowledge that we still have a mountainous work ahead if we are to completely free our people from the chains of unemployment. However, I am certain that these measures will ultimately bring us what we require, which is the eradication of unemployment in our province,” Premier Ntombela said.

Amelia Jones

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