Revitalised industrial parks in the Eastern Cape provide a muchneeded boost to the economy and local communities
Industrial parks were once hubs of economic activity across the Eastern Cape province and it is hoped that their revitalisation will
lead to broader economic and industrial development.
The government's Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) brings hope of generating thousands of jobs around the country while creating opportunities for small and medium enterprises.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, along with Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle and
Eastern Cape MEC for Economic Development Sakhumzi Somyo, launched the Komani Industrial Park revitalisation programme in Komani in November.The Komani site is one of 10 industrial parks around the country that the dti has prioritised for revitalisation as part of the programme.
Davies said the first phase of the Komani project – which covered security upgrades – was done in collaboration with the Chris Hani Development Agency.The dti's investment totalled R22.5 million.
In May this year, the Eastern Cape government and the dti launched the Vulindlela Heights Industrial Park revitalisation programme in Mthatha. Government spent a further R20 million on the revival of infrastructure to enable the industrial park to accommodate more tenants.
Although it is yet to be launched, the Dimbaza Industrial Park is already attracting tenants who manufacture wellknown brands.The revitalisation programme has also laid
the foundation for a trailblazing black-owned company to expand its operations, boost its production and create more jobs.The majority black-owned Ikusasa Green manufactures high-end cooler boxes for the Massmart Group and is expanding its operations to a facility in Dimbaza ahead of the official launch of the industrial park.
Ikusasa Green's expansion follows a R9 million injection from the Eastern Cape's Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) and a further R12 million from the Massmart Group, which is the home of Game, Macro and Dion, among others.
This means Ikusasa Green, which has a 70 per cent black shareholding, has attracted a total of R21 million in investment from the private and the public sector since its inception in 2013.
The company's expansion to the 12 000-square-metre facility in Dimbaza is well aligned with government's industrial parks revitalisation programme. Eastern Cape MEC for economic development Sakhumzi Somyo explains that industrial parks were once hubs of economic activity across the province.
Ikusasa Green managing director Thami Gxowa said DEDEAT has been involved in the company's growth and development since its inception.The department provided an initial capital injection of R3 million to help source equipment for the company's rotational moulding plant in Stutterheim.
DEDEAT later injected another R3 million to boost plant capacity and a further R3 million to rehabilitate the Dimbaza facility.
The company prides itself on its high-end products. Its cooler boxes can retain ice for up to seven days and are so successful that a deal has since been struck to diversify Ikusasa Green's range of cooler boxes for the Massmart Group's flagship Camp Master brand.
“This (investment from DEDEAT) allowed Ikusasa to attract quality clients such as Massmart,” said Gxowa
“The relationship grew because of the quality of our products which gave us the opportunity to expand our Dimbaza product line into injection moulded cooler boxes for Massmart. Massmart invested in tooling the Dimbaza plant as part of its supplier development programme.”
The expansion to the Dimbaza Industrial Park has seen the company's employment increase from 35 to 75 people, all of whom were previously unemployed.
The investment from the Eastern
Cape government and the Massmart Group will also enable Ikusasa Green to increase output and diversify is production methods, Gxowa said.
“We are now going to be able to use injection moulding in Dimbaza, which requires a heavy capital base but it will assist us to pump up volumes. In Stutterheim, we use rotational moulding (roto-moulding), which is a slower process and a bit expensive for high-end products,” Gxowa explained.
Gxowa said the company's star attraction is its in-house high-end rotational moulding Römer cooler boxes, which are robust enough for African conditions.
“The Römer cooler boxes can preserve ice for up to seven days. Our only competition is cooler boxes from Australia and the United States which are not cost competitive,” said Gxowa.
The company's latest range includes 45- and 60-litre cooler boxes as well as the econo-range of 25-litre and 40-litre coolers with prices ranging between R900 and R1 500.
“We are particularly pleased that Massmart also commissioned us to produce these high-end cooler boxes under their private Safari Camp Master label in
“All this work is concerned with the revival of industrial and economic activity in areas such as Butterworth, Vulindlela in Mthatha, Komani and Fort Jackson in Mdantsane outside
45 and 60 litres. Massmart has invested R12 million into Ikusasa and in Dimbaza. We are manufacturing the more affordable 50-litre injection-moulded Camp Master cooler box for them, as well as a 30- and 12-litre family pack with better ice retention. In Dimbaza, we are also making the ammo-crate storage box for camping for Massmart,” Gxowa said.
Millions in investment
DEDEAT said a master plan drawn up by development financier the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) for the revitalisation of the Dimbaza Industrial Park was in its final stages of approval by the provincial cabinet.
This will make Dimbaza the third revamped industrial park in the Eastern Cape after Komani and Vulindlela parks in Komani and Mthatha respectively.
“We are delighted to have been able to attract an innovative and purely Eastern Cape company like Ikusasa Green to drive our plan of attracting highquality investments and companies to the Dimbaza Industrial Park to drive economic activity and employment. Ikusasa develops a product with a unique value proposition in South Africa and as a province we are proud that it has attracted interest and investments running into millions of rands from retailers such as Massmart,” said Somyo.
He added that government's aim for the Dimbaza Industrial Park is to attract innovative investors in general manufacturing as well as the agro-processing sectors.
“ECDC, as the province's economic development agency which owns the Dimbaza Industrial Park and which currently has 107 stands on behalf of government, will be the main driver of the revitalisation process of industrial parks across the Eastern Cape. Dimbaza currently has 24 tenants in sectors such as textiles and manufacturing,” MEC Somyo said.
ECDC chief executive officer Ndzondelelo Dlulane says its support of tenants such as Ikusasa Green at its Dimbaza Industrial Park is part of a broader industrial park revitalisation strategy in areas such as Butterworth, Vulindlela in Mthatha, Komani and Fort Jackson in Mdantsane outside East London.
“All this work is concerned with the revival of industrial and economic activity in these areas. Dimbaza was once an industrial hub for King William's Town, generating significant employment opportunities. Supported by partners such as the dti, the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency and the Buffalo City Metro, among others, government has made it a priority to revitalise economic activity in Dimbaza.
“We are mobilising potential anchor tenants who will occupy the park and negotiations with local entrepreneurs are ongoing. We are specifically targeting business in the agro-processing, renewable energy and general manufacturing sectors,” said Dlulane.