Business & Economy

Wednesday, 28 November 2018 12:57

Plastics | SA announces Mxolisi Khutama as new Chairman

Written by 
Outgoing chairman Bernhard Mahl incoming Chairman Mxolisi Khutama and Exec Dir Anton Hanekom

Plastics|SA, the non-profit company representing all sectors of the South African Plastics Industry (including polymer producers, importers, converters, machine suppliers, fabricators and recyclers), welcomed Mxolisi Khutama as the new Chairman for 2019 at its Annual General Meeting that took place in Midrand recently.

Addressing the audience in attendance, Plastics|SA’s Executive Director, Anton Hanekom, acknowledged that the global plastics industry is having to contend with ongoing negative messages and mounting pressure to minimise the environmental impact of plastics packaging.

"There is a huge gap between industry telling the positive plastics story and the visible evidence of plastics ending their valuable life in the ocean. Plastics industry leaders believe that plastics play a role in helping save the environment, but it has little to zero impact on the growing sentiment to refuse or even ban single-use plastics.  For this reason, it is more important than ever before, for us to be more pro-active in determining the public agenda, taking part in public debates and forming public opinion on plastics as the material of the future. With the appointment of our new Chairman and the support of a strong and energetic Board of Directors, I believe we are up to the task and ready to change the playing field,” Hanekom said.

Khutama (BSc Eng, PGDMM, PGDBM) will be replacing Bernhard Mahl as Chairman of the Board, although Bernhard will remain on as Deputy Chair. Khutama brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and expertise in operations, business development and administration gained in both the polymer, healthcare and business environments and currently is the Group Executive: Rigids at Nampak Packaging.Commenting on his new role as Plastics|SA Chairman, Khutama stressed that it is imperative for the industry to engage government if it is to succeed in changing the public’s negative perception about plastic.

“The concept of ‘A life without plastics’, specifically single-use plastics, has become a worldwide trend. The media is overrun with anti-plastics messages and campaigns which fuel the negative perception of plastics on a daily basis.  The consumer blames plastic products for the pollution, whilst the plastics industry believes that government does not do enough to ensure proper waste management in the country. On the other hand, Government thinks the responsibility lies with the plastic producer.  Whilst it is true that human behaviour needs to change, there is no incentive to do so if the necessary infrastructure is not in place. It is clear, therefore, that Plastics|SA has a vital role to play both in society and in the government space,” Khuluma stressed.

Despite the bad press and negative attitude that the plastics industry has had to contend with this past year, some good has also come of this.

“Every cloud has a silver lining, and in our case it forced us to be proactive and look at things differently.  Design for Recycling has become an integral part of manufacturing, resulting in more successful collaboration across the value chain as brand owners, retailers and governments seek new technologies to solve industry challenges and change irresponsible, careless human behaviour that resulted in the global marine litter tragedy.  This also fits in with our industry’s need to facilitate a circular economy, closing the loop through reuse and recycling and ensuring a restorative and regenerative economy where the value of plastic is not lost by being thrown away. In turn, we will be able to grow the country’s economy, create more jobs and develop a more sustainable environment for South Africa.  There are still many challenges that we need to overcome in 2019. We know it won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it!” Hanekom concludes.

For more information or to view the Annual Review for 2017/2018, visit www.plasticsinfo.co.za/annual-reports

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