A fairy tale success story
Sacks Packaging’s floor in Mobeni, south of Durban, is a constant hive of activity, where different types of paper bags, used in everything from cement to sugar packaging, are made.
Behind this activity lies the fairy tale story of a young man who grew up in a disadvantaged home, a management buy-out funded by the IDC and a massive commitment to help others.
Kevin Kistan, owner and CEO of Sacks, started life at the bottom, but through sheer hard work and determination this dynamo now has seven degrees, runs the only 100% black-owned packaging company in South Africa and has created employment for 200 people.
Previously owned by Nampak, the company was bought out by Kistan with funding assistance from the IDC.
“I would not have been able to buy this company without the IDC. I approached numerous commercial banks for funding, but they all wanted a stake in the company, so I went to the IDC and it worked out perfectly,” he said.
The company’s workforce is 95% black and 79% of its management is also black. “For us, having black people in management is not just about making up numbers. We take on qualified individuals because we want them to work and contribute towards growing the company,” said Kistan.
One of the things Kistan has done is to refurbish the dilapidated canteen and the facilities at the on-site clinic. A doctor and psychologist also come in weekly to follow up on the in-house nursing sister’s patients.
The company’s social responsibility programmes extend across the borders of the country, with a sponsorship towards the building of water wells in India and the construction of a clinic in Mozambique.
“I didn’t get where I am without someone giving me an opportunity, and I’ve made it a personal and professional commitment to pay it forward by giving others opportunities. Hopefully, they do the same for others in the future.” Sacks Packaging in numbers: 200 jobs 80% of sales through large JSE/multinational customers