24 April 2014
A small factory in the Amathole District in the Eastern Cape is using green energy to manufacture cooler boxes for international retailer Massmart, bringing “significant benefits” to the regional economy, the provincial Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism announced on Tuesday.
The R4-million Ikusasa Green manufacturing plant in Stutterheim in the Amahlati District was officially opened on Tuesday by Mcebisi Jonas, the Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC.
Jonas said the project was an exciting example of what could happen when a SMME partnered with big business.
The plant would create 20 jobs in the Stutterheim area, with an additional 10 to 15 permanent jobs within the first two months of its operation, Jonas said.
The cooler boxes, manufactured using green energy and using an innovative roto- moulded process, will be available for sale around the world, said Mkululi Pakade, a director of Ikusasa Green.
The project has received an investment of R4-million from the department’s Local and Regional Economic Development (LRED) Fund, with assistance from the Massmart supplier development fund.
The LRED Fund aims to support the development of new sources of economic activity in small towns as well as new technologies that include energy efficiency.
“The Ikusasa project is a combination of innovation, commitment and sufficient motivation from the concerned entrepreneurs,” Jonas said. “This is a demonstration of people who have not waited for government but took the initiative to unleash the potential of business through using the available mechanisms for business support”
He said “locally entrenched” industrialisation could serve to reignite the province’s manufacturing sector, which has experienced many job losses “even before the recession.
The company handed over its first two cooler box units off the newly installed production line to Massmart at the opening. Ikusasa will hand over 700 units to Massmart for their initial order, worth R610 000.
Moshisi Lehlongwane, supplier development manager at Massmart, said the partnership was a reaffirmation of the company’s commitment to buy from small- and medium-suppliers anywhere in South Africa.
“They had the right product with innovation and not only will we list their roto- moulded cooler boxes in our stores, but we are putting them under one of our trusted brands, Camp Master.
“Through our supplier development fund we have committed to work with Ikusasa Green to remove challenges such as securing the right moulds, ensuring that their factory complies with national standards, and that they have the right machinery to keep up with orders from Massmart.”
SAinfo reporter and the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism