The North West government has tasked a delegation of MECs to engage with Clover management in an effort to persuade the company to reconsider its decision to relocate its plant from Lichtenburg to eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal.
The plant is the biggest cheese producer in the country.
Its relocation could result in more than 330 job losses.
Clover cited lack of water provision, recurring power outages and damaged roads as part of the reasons for its decision:
While the North West government acknowledges that poor provision of services by the Ditsobotla Local Municipality may well be some of the reasons for the decision, it says it is prepared to do all it can to save jobs.
“Our responsibility as government, at any sphere, remains to create a conducive environment for business to flourish. I must say in this instance, we may have neglected this key responsibility and hence Clover intends to close shop in the municipality,” Premier Job Mokgoro told journalists at a media briefing on the provincial government’s plan to try and convince the company to reconsider its decision.
However, the provincial government says the decision to shutdown the plant is seemingly not only due to services.
“This could be just purely a business decision. We have reached the leadership of Clover in the form of the CEO, in the form of a legal secretariat, requesting engagement. We’re continuing to seek to have an audience and engagement with Clover for many reasons,” the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Mmoloki Cwaile, added.
Taking over the plant is another option, should the company not be convinced to stay.
“We must have plan B. In case they have made their mind, they are not changing, they are closing down, what is it that we will do as government. Because we are a caring government, we want to make sure that we save jobs,” says the North West MEC for Agriculture, Desbo Mohono.
North West premier Job Mokgoro says government must also acknowledge its weaknesses, while still trying to convince @cloversa to not close its plant in Lichtenburg…says Ditsobotla Municipality has bad record in terms of service delivery #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/aECMsdMJak
— Kgajane (@ikgajane) June 10, 2021
Clover employs about 380 permanent employees and about 40 temporary employees.