THE GROWTH OF BLACK INDUSTRIALISTS
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