- Cheetah to create 200 jobs by next June
- Aims to export cement to Zim and other SADC countries
FRANCISTOWN: A joint venture between a Chinese conglomerate and Namibian businessman Zedekias Gowaseb has vowed to play a key role in helping Botswana cut its cement imports to zero.
Cheetah Cement Botswana (Pty) Ltd, which is situated 30km east of Francistown, is looking at June next year as the target date by which to have achieved this ambitious goal. According to the company’s General Manager, Hui Andy, Botswana’s annual cement requirement currently stands at 620, 000 tonnes, much of which is imported, especially after the closure of Matsiloje Portland Cement (MPC) in January 2018.
MPC, which was owned by Northern Textiles (Pty) Ltd, had an annual turnover of P20 million at the height of its business. It closed shop in January 2018. It cited unsustainability due to competition from South African imports when it folded. “We are earmarking an annual output of 990, 000 tonnes of cement per annum as of June next year,” Hui told journalists on a media tour of the manufacturing plant of Cheetah organised by Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) recently.
Cheetah Cement, which was persuaded to set up in Botswana by BITC, is a dry method process Portland cement and clinker production line company that aims to reduce Botswana’s import bill for building materials and to eventually export cement to Zimbabwe and other SADC countries. With an investment of USD40 million, Cheetah Cement started production in February this year and is currently producing at the rate of 25, 000 tonnes of cement per month.
“For the first time in the history of Botswana, thousands of tonnes of cement will be exported to regional markets,” the CEO of BITC, Keletsositse Olebile, said on the media tour. “Botswana will reduce the import bill by over USD90 million on annual basis if we produce our own cement.” In addition to contribution to reducing the import bill, Olebile said the Cheetah plant is expected to create 200 or more direct jobs by June next year.