SA engineering firm targets Zim

HARARE - South Africa’s civil engineering and construction group, Esor, is seeking business opportunities in Zimbabwe to avert challenging market conditions in Africa’s largest economy that are not expected to abate in the short term.

The group’s chief executive, Wessel van Zyl, last week said projects outside South Africa provide a foreign currency hedge, which is favourable when the rand is weakening, and potentially offer higher margins after taking the associated risks into account.

“Opportunities in Zimbabwe and Zambia continue to be explored with a number of smaller piling contracts being completed in Zimbabwe and the Old Mutual piling contract in Harare being secured which commenced in November 2016,” he said.

This comes as Esor — through its local unit formerly known as Zimfranki Projects — suspended works in Zimbabwe in 2004, amidst the economic downturn but began trading again in 2011.

In 2013, in compliance with indigenous legislation, Esor sold 51 percent of Zimfranki Projects (now branded to Esor Zimbabwe) business to English Breeze Investments, a 100 percent indigenous company.

Building on its niche geotechnical engineering offering, as well as the South Africa-based skill sets, Esor Zimbabwe has diversified into the civil engineering construction sector, expanding its services from sub-surface foundation work to include above surface civil engineering and construction services.

The latest pronouncement by Esor also comes at a time South African companies have expressed willingness to invest and create business partnerships with Zimbabwe as a way of dealing with the credit crunch that is hindering economic growth in Africa.

Currently, there are more than 120 South African companies doing business in Zimbabwe in various sectors, including mining, aviation, tourism, banking, property, retail, construction and the fast-food sector.

Early this month, President Robert Mugabe said South African businesses in Zimbabwe were safe and there was need for the two southern African neighbours to improve the flow of investments in both directions.

In his opening remarks at the official opening of the inaugural session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-national Commission in Harare, Mugabe said beneficiation and value addition of products offered the two countries vast opportunities for joint ventures and investment partnerships.

“I wish to assure South African business people that their investments are safe here in Zimbabwe.

“We wish to see more South African investments here, as much as we wish to also see more Zimbabwean investments in South Africa,” he said.

The nonagenarian leader said business people in the two nations, whose bilateral relations date back to the colonial era, should look beyond the exchange of goods and services, adding they should be empowered to compete in the national and regional markets.

Mugabe, however, expressed concern that a number of the 38 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding inked since the signing of the Joint Commission for Co-operation in 1995, had not been implemented.

Among these was the agreement in 2009 to establish a one-stop border post at Beitbridge, which Mugabe said was gathering dust despite its importance to trade between the two countries.

“A major priority among these is to ensure the optimal operation of the Beitbridge border through the establishment of a one-stop border post at this key bilateral and regional transit point,” he said.

Comments (1)

Very positive and encouraging news!!

Sagitarr - 2 December 2016

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