PRETORIA - Cement imports from Pakistan to South Africa will continue and are expected to increase, says Qamar Zaman, commercial secretary at the High Commission of Pakistan in South Africa. Last year issues were raised about the quality of Pakistani cement but Zaman said on Thursday that lower prices gave his country’s product a competitive edge. South Africa consumes about 12-million tonnes of cement a year, with imports sitting at 5pc, according to Stanlib analyst Anashrin Pillay.

Last year, multinational company Lafarge called foul over Pakistani imports. It said Cement’s product of a Pak company was of a weak quality and often not packaged to correct quantities. Lafarge said it was concerned that substandard products were being used for large infrastructure projects in South Africa, including the building of hospitals, government housing and schools. Zaman defended Pakistani cement, saying over the past decade it had been refined and the production processes were now “of a high standard”.