From trash to cash, at just 22

CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

Three Mpumalanga en­trepreneurs are break­ing new ground in the waste and re­cy­cling busi­ness in ru­ral ar­eas.

“Re­cy­cling is vis­i­ble in ur­ban ar­eas, but not in town­ships and vil­lages,” says Lebo Ma­lope, Bhangula Waste and Re­cy­cling’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and co-founder.

“You see, there’s vir­tu­ally no waste col­lec­tion in th­ese ar­eas … our re­search tells us that Mbombela mu­nic­i­pal­ity pro­vides this ser­vice only in 46% of the area un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion.”

He, Nyiko Baloyi and Pa­trick Maseko, all 22 years old, started their com­pany in 2014 and have cre­ated 18 per­ma­nent jobs at their plant in KaBok­weni town­ship, 45 kilo­me­tres from Mbombela.

They have 650 ven­dors in the town­ship and in places such as Sa­bie, Manyeleti, Bush­buck­ridge, Mashish­ing, Graskop and Bar­ber­ton.

The ven­dors sup­ply their plant with re­cy­clable ma­te­rial, such as card­board boxes, pa­per, plas­tic and bot­tles, for pay­ment per weight. Bhangula Waste and Re­cy­cling then takes the waste to big com­pa­nies for re­cy­cling.

Ma­lope says they want to “rev­o­lu­tionise” the waste and re­cy­cling busi­ness.

“It’s a white-dom­i­nated busi­ness, as we all know, and we are in­fil­trat­ing the mar­ket.”

He says they are also plan­ning to ex­pand through­out Mpumalanga and then to Lim­popo and East­ern Cape. They also want to repli­cate the KaBok­weni plant else­where in the prov­ince.

The com­pany ap­plied for R4.5 mil­lion in fund­ing from the In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion to fuel its ex­pan­sion plans.

The loan was granted in Fe­bru­ary last year and they have sub­se­quently bought state of the art ma­chin­ery, two trucks and a bakkie. They are also ren­o­vat­ing their KaBok­weni plant. The busi­ness­men have al­lo­cated them­selves jobs in their com­pany ac­cord­ing to their pre­vi­ous job ex­pe­ri­ence and strengths.

Ma­lope had en­rolled for a mar­ket­ing diploma, but dropped out to take a job as a ser­vice con­sul­tant at a bank.

Maseko is the op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor, while Baloyi, a qual­i­fied me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer, is the tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor.

Ma­lope says his bank­ing ex­pe­ri­ence has come in handy be­cause it ex­posed him to busi­ness.

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