THE GROWTH OF BLACK IN­DUS­TRI­AL­ISTS

CityPress - - Voices -

One of South Africa’s strate­gic ob­jec­tives is the cre­ation of black in­dus­tri­al­ists who will own, man­age and con­trol large-scale in­dus­trial, man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices com­pa­nies to drive job cre­ation, in­crease earn­ing po­ten­tial and re­duce im­port de­pen­dency, as well as max­imise black own­er­ship of the econ­omy.

As a de­vel­op­ment fi­nancier, over eight years ago the NEF es­tab­lished the Strate­gic Projects Fund, which has since de­vel­oped 22 strate­gic and in­dus­trial projects with a future value of R28.7 bil­lion and the po­ten­tial to sup­port over 85 000 jobs. These have been de­vel­oped with lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional part­ners. One of these is the Graskop Lift Com­pany, a re­cip­i­ent of R33.4 mil­lion funding from the NEF.

Graskop Lift Com­pany is ma­jor­ity black-owned and is one of the driv­ing forces behind tourism de­vel­op­ment in the Panorama Tourist Route in Mpumalanga. The com­pany is behind the con­struc­tion of an out­door lift at­trac­tion into the Graskop Gorge and Re­tail Cen­tre, which will open in the last quar­ter of 2017.

The out­door lift sys­tem will ferry peo­ple up and down the cliff face into the for­est en­vi­ron­ment be­low, where about 500m of el­e­vated walk­ways and ground walk­ways will al­low vis­i­tors to ex­plore the spec­tac­u­lar sights of the area. This ex­pe­ri­ence will be en­hanced with var­i­ous in­for­ma­tion boards and other activities such as guided tours.

Sup­port­ing the out­door lift sys­tem will be a newly con­structed tourism cen­tre that will pro­vide vis­i­tors with a num­ber of prod­ucts and ser­vices in­clud­ing a restau­rant, bar, re­tail out­lets, kids’ play area and cen­tre man­age­ment of­fices that will sup­port the en­tire de­vel­op­ment.

Ini­tially, the project will con­struct a 36-bed ho­tel in the gorge, es­ti­mated at a cost of R100 mil­lion. The project will cre­ate and main­tain 170 jobs, as well as pro­vide an up­graded mar­ket for craft sell­ers.

Unique En­gi­neer­ing is the re­cip­i­ent of R23 mil­lion worth of in­vest­ments from the NEF and is a spe­cial­ist man­u­fac­tur­ing sup­plier to the min­ing and rail in­dus­tries. The com­pany spe­cialises in elec­tro­mag­netic brakes and sheet metal bend­ing ma­chines; eco, wil­flo and respa pipes; unique blast bar­ri­cades; and BES pan­tographs used in rail­way op­er­a­tions. Its clients in­clude rail en­tity Transnet, as well as the rail and min­ing in­dus­try across south­ern Africa.

An­other com­pany sup­ported by the NEF is Comberero, a 100% black-women-owned con­crete pump­ing com­pany. Con­crete pump­ing is a more ef­fi­cient method of pour­ing con­crete, whereby a ma­chine is used to trans­fer liq­uid con­crete, es­pe­cially dur­ing the con­struc­tion of high-rise build­ings.

This new method re­places tra­di­tional meth­ods of us­ing wheel­bar­rows and cranes.

The com­pany has been in op­er­a­tion since March 2014 and has man­aged to se­cure strong clients such as On­time, Afrisam Ready Mix, Group 5, WBHO, Astek Con­struc­tion and Tri-Star Con­struc­tion, among other firms.

It is sig­nif­i­cant for the NEF to sup­port the en­try of a women-owned en­ter­prise into an im­por­tant niche in the con­struc­tion sec­tor.

The NEF has also in­vested in agro­pro­cess­ing, a crit­i­cal part of the agri­cul­ture value chain, trans­port and lo­gis­tics, min­er­als ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion, as well as the ser­vices sec­tor, by far the big­gest ex­po­sure of the NEF’s funded port­fo­lio.

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the Graskop Panorama Lift, part of Mpumalanga’s Panorama Tourist Route, that will take vis­i­tors into the gorge to ex­plore the for­est be­low

Comberero has found a new way of trans­port­ing liq­uid ce­ment in high-rise con­struc­tion projects

Unique En­gi­neer­ing is a man­u­fac­turer of high-qual­ity prod­ucts for a va­ri­ety of sec­tors, in­clud­ing min­ing and rail

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