Tag Archives: AfriSam


Keeping the goods flowing between the port of Durban and the powerhouse of Johannesburg has always been a basic pillar of South Africa’s economic life; current roadwork on this vital corridor is hoping to streamline traffic and boost trade.

Since April 2021, JSE-listed Raubex Construction has been active on a 4 km stretch from Dardanellas to Lynnfield Park. The project is a major overhaul of the road surface, with the addition of two – sometimes three – lanes in each direction. Bridges are also being widened and a completely new twin-spine, road-over-road bridge is going up over the R603 route.

According to Raubex contracts manager Abri Lubbe, the widening of the bridges at the Umlaas and Sunnyvale underpasses has been completed, as has an agricultural underpass. The work has included the construction of abutments, the application of precast beams, in-situ decks, balustrades and end-blocks.

“The twin-spine bridge at the Umlaas Road junction – which is a three-span structure – is underway,” says Lubbe. “Work began on this bridge in October 2021, and piling has been completed to allow for the foundations to begin; it is due for completion by the end of 2023.”

Roadwork on the southbound lanes is getting underway, says Thys Greeff, construction manager at Raubex, as the contraflow arrangement for traffic frees up this side of the highway for construction work.

“Excavation takes place to between 1000mm to 600mm, and this is filled with blasted material from AfriSam,” says Greeff. “The next level may comprise a 150 mm capping layer and a 300 mm G6 selected layer, followed by a 350 mm stabilised sub-base layer of crushed material.”

Roadstab – AfriSam’s specialised road stabilising cement – is being supplied in 50 kg bags to the Raubex subcontractor for adding to the sub-base layer. By the end of the contract, around 180,000 bags of RoadStab – or some 9,000 t – will be used.

The readymix supply will come from AfriSam’s nearby plant at Umlaas Road, says AfriSam regional sales manager Randal Chetty. More than 300,000 tonnes of construction material, including unselected fill, blasted G6 material and 20 mm aggregate have been supplied to date.

With the scale of the numerous upgrading projects on the N3 placing pressure on local suppliers, Chetty says AfriSam’s quarry at Pietermaritzburg will be able to provide back-up supply where necessary.

“Serving this project – alongside others in the area – demands meticulous planning to ensure that the required blue and brown material is always delivered,” says Chetty. “On the readymix side, for instance, we have already begun stockpiling the 20 mm aggregate and river sand, for when project demand is greatest.”


The new border post at Beitbridge, one of Zimbabwe’s first public-private partnerships, is making good progress toward completion by JSE-listed contractor Raubex, on behalf of its client Zimborders Consortium.

When completed, the facility will provide three new immigration facilities, each custom designed to speed up the flow of traffic, according to Raubex construction manager Herkie Sandenbergh. The first area, dedicated to freight trucks, has already been handed over, and processes approximately 500 trucks a day. Currently underway is the second phase which is focused on bus transport, which will be complete by May 2022. The third phase will be the facility for light traffic, and will be handed over in November this year. 

“Each stream will have its own terminal building where all customs and immigration documentation will be dealt with, thereby streamlining the processes by applying specific expertise in each area,” says Sandenbergh.

He adds that there is considerable related infrastructure around the town of Beitbridge that is also included in the scope of work. This includes an 11,5 million litre reservoir with associated pipelines, an oxidation dam for sewage treatment, a fire station, an animal quarantine facility and a new staff village for border post personnel.

As a key partner in the project, AfriSam has supplied some 7,000 tonnes of its High Strength R42.5 Cement from its Roodepoort plant near Johannesburg. The company will have delivered around 10,000 tonnes of bulk cement by the time work is completed – delivered in 34 tonne tankers. 

Adele Wentzel, AfriSam’s sales manager manufacturing for Gauteng, says the distance from site and the complexities of border crossings have been among the challenges to be overcome. 

“The AfriSam team has been working closely to ensure consistent quality and on-time delivery, while complying with the various customs requirements at the border,” says Wentzel. “Our close coordination – combined with daily interactions with site – have kept the project proceeding well.”

She notes that congestion at the border – which delayed trucks for up to a week – was a particular challenge in the early stages. 

“Our success to date has certainly built constructively on our long relationship with Raubex,” she says. 


Speaking at AfriSam’s recent National Budget Breakdown function, an annual event now in its fifth year, Dr Azar Jammine, director and chief economist of Econometrix, gave a thumbs up to the 2022 budget, saying it was “highly satisfactory with no harm”.

He cautioned, however, that servicing the national debt was becoming increasingly onerous and now accounted for 14 % of government expenditure. He also expressed the view that there was nothing in the budget “to make one believe sustainable growth will improve forthwith”.

Jammine congratulated Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana for making a commitment to increased spending on capital assets while, at the same time, attempting to curb the growth in the public sector wage bill. “We’re now seeing an attempt to slow down the compensation of employees as a percentage of the overall tax bill and to increase the amount of investment in capital assets,” he said.

Jammine was the main speaker at the event and reviewed both the global and local economy. Sharing the stage with him was Trevor Manuel, who served as South Africa’s Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, making him the longest serving finance minister in South Africa’s history. Manuel provided valuable and insightful commentary, based on his intimate knowledge and experience. He also fielded many questions from the floor and enlightened the audience with his unique insights into the South African economy. 

Manuel referred to the “ravages of state capture”, saying it was not just about corruption but also the destruction of institutional capacity. As an example, he noted that the SA Police Service (SAPS) would be underspending its budget in the 2021/22 fiscal year by around R20 billion, giving the lie to the often-heard claims that the SAPS was underfunded. 

He added that the situation was even more chaotic at provincial and municipal level. On the challenge of water supply, he asked how it was possible that one of the major metros in the country – Gqeberha – had failed to maintain its water infrastructure.

He also referred to “this horrible phenomenon called the construction mafia”, saying that it basically meant that the pricing of contracts could not be realistic and that projects could sometimes not commence, never mind being completed.

Reviewing the global economy, Jammine said it had grown by 5,9 % in 2021 with the IMF predicting that this figure would fall to 4,0 % in 2022 and 3,8 % in 2023. By contrast, South Africa had shown 4,6 % growth in 2021, well below the global average, with the IMF forecasting that this would drop to 1,9 % in 2022 and a paltry 1,4 % – the lowest of any major economy – in 2023. 

“Since 2009 South Africa’s growth trajectory has lagged that of the world economy,” he said. He added that while activity in the world economy was back to the levels seen before the onset of the COVID pandemic, this was not the case with South Africa, mainly due to structural factors that inhibited growth. 

These structural impediments included skills shortages, state capture and corruption, cadre deployment, the deterioration of SOEs, lack of infrastructural investment, over-regulation and non-payment for work, and labour market restrictions.

On the subject of debt, Jammine told his audience that government debt to GDP ratios worldwide were “quite terrifying” with US debt, for example, now amounting to between 120 – 130 % of GDP. He also noted that since 2020, the US Fed had injected as massive stimulus recovery package of around five trillion dollars into the economy – to counter the economic effects of COVID – and that other countries had followed suit. The result was sharp upward pressure on prices. 

“The genie is now out of the bottle in the form of a massive surge in inflation the likes of which we have not seen in 40 years in the world economy,” he observed. He added that South Africa’s inflation rate was below that of the US for the first time in 30 years. 

Referring specifically to South Africa’s budget, Jammine said SARS had collected R182 billion more in taxes than anticipated, with this economic windfall giving Minister Godongwana considerable leeway in formulating the budget. He pointed out that the windfall was largely due to increased payments by the mining industry as a result of mining companies having benefitted from the current surge in commodity prices. 

Turning to some of the specifics of the South African economy, Jammine said construction – AfriSam’s primary market – had been the weakest sector of the economy over the past decade and now accounted for just 2,5 % of GDP. This was due to gross capital formation in South Africa having declined, as a percentage of GDP, from 19 % around 2014 to the current 13 %.

Concluding his presentation on a positive note, Jammine said the construction industry could receive a big boost from an increase in infrastructural spending. He noted that 51 well-defined projects worth R340 billion had been identified in the 2020 Economic Recovery and Construction Plan and that the project pipeline has since been expanded to include an additional 55 projects worth R595 billion. 

This amounted to a grand total of R935 billion representing 126 % of total annual fixed investment. He said that if all – or even just some – of these projects were implemented it would be a game changer for the industry and a major boost to the economy, with growth increasing by as much as 2 % a year.


Leading construction materials company, AfriSam, is proud to announce that it has joined the Springbok family with a three-year partnership.  The company is also breaking new ground as the first in the construction industry and cement manufacturing sector to partner with the Springboks.

“We are delighted to welcome a new partner from a new sector of the South African economy into the Springbok family,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.

“AfriSam is a long-established company whose products are literally part of the fabric of the country. Similarly, we aspire to make the Springboks part of the fabric of the nation as well.”

AfriSam has been a long-standing supporter of sports going back almost 30 years when it sponsored one of the oldest football clubs in our country –  Orlando Pirates. That sponsorship was done under our previous company name, Alpha Cement.  More recently AfriSam has also shown support for the Free State Cheetahs and the South African Football Association’s development programme, Ima Nathi.

“One behalf of the entire AfriSam team, I would like to express our excitement about joining the Springbok family.  As a proudly South African company, we are constantly striving to build and uplift our nation.  Forming a partnership with a team that has, over the years, demonstrated how rugby can unify and inspire an entire nation, came as a natural fit for us.  We wish our beloved national rugby team all the best and we look forward to “creating concrete possibilities” together.  Go Bokke!” said Richard Tomes, Sales & Marketing Executive of AfriSam.

“We’d like to thank AfriSam’s leadership and their entire workforce for their support for the Boks. It’s the support of proudly South African companies such as AfriSam, that provides the foundations on which we can build, in this case almost literally”, concludes Roux.


As South Africa endures some of its most difficult economic times yet, the country should recognise the importance of supporting responsible manufacturing practice in its cement sector. 

The call comes from Hannes Meyer, cementitious executive at leading cement producer AfriSam, who emphasises the strategic value – both economic and social – in a sector that generates this vital commodity. 

“As the backbone of our national infrastructure, cement is also a product that represents our highest aspirations of mineral beneficiation,” says Meyer. “To produce this valuable resource, we must start with mining our own deposits. We then process the ingredients through complex technologies that demand considerable financial investment and expertise.” 

The range of products that result must form part of an intricate supply chain before arriving where it must be used, he says. Almost the entire value chain, however, is local – creating market demand and local job opportunities all along the way. 

“In addition to the basic requirements of the cement business, South Africa’s cement producers are also mineral rights holders who must comply with mining regulations, which includes Social and Labour Plans,” he says. “In addition to normal business legislation, we must go the extra mile to promote development in and around the communities where we operate.”

He points out that this is currently more difficult for cement producers than for miners of more high-value commodities, who are currently benefiting from buoyant prices set by global markets. In contrast, cement prices are determined by demand in the country’s building and construction sectors, where performance remains lacklustre. 

“Despite the challenges, local cement producers like AfriSam continue to meet compliance requirements, as these align with our underlying corporate commitment to the future of Africa and the planet,” says Meyer. 

Added to the industry’s responsibilities, he notes, is the growing pressure on all South African businesses to reduce carbon emissions in the interests of a low-carbon future that responds to the growing dangers of climate change. As an energy-intensive sector, cement production is researching and applying various innovations to reduce its carbon footprint. The government’s recent carbon tax – which is payable by local producers – has created a further imbalance in the market that disadvantages local players, he pointed out. 

“With the wholesale import of cement from countries unencumbered by a carbon tax, there is no level playing field for responsible local manufacturers who are often undercut by imports not governed by our rules,” he says. 

The danger of further weakening the South African base of responsible manufacturers, he says, is that the country will need to rely mainly on its own internal capacity if it wants to generate inclusive and sustainable economic growth into the future. With government hoping to raise infrastructure expenditure, there must be strong local construction expertise and products to implement these projects.

“An important part of local cement producers’ contribution is the skills and technology development that we continue to generate for the South African economy,” says Meyer. “We develop skills in local communities, and opportunities for small black-owned businesses, as well as for women and youth in our supply chain. This is a core pillar of responsible manufacturing that the country should support and reward.”


With a heritage spanning more than eight decades, AfriSam’s footprint of quarries nationwide is supported by quality systems that ensure customers reliability and consistency of aggregate supply.

“The value of the right aggregate for the task cannot be overstated, as it affects all aspects of project success – from safety and longevity to cost-effectiveness and reputational risk,” says Amit Dawneerangen, general manager sales and product technical at AfriSam. 

The company’s strong product technical department ensures that all facilities and products comply with the necessary standards and quality specifications. Standard quality control testing is conducted regularly on each aggregate stockpile at every operation, and annual testing is also conducted by independent SANAS-accredited laboratories. 

“This is all vital to assuring the customer that our aggregate helps them to meet the design engineer’s specifications for their contract,” he says. “Without these quality systems and processes, the construction value chain can be compromised and cause various negative impacts for stakeholders down the line.”

Glenn Johnson, general manager construction materials operation aggregates at AfriSam, highlights that ongoing planning and investment ensures that the company’s quarry reserves are in place for future sustainability. 

“There can be no quality aggregate supplied if there are not well-planned and compliant quarries to mine,” says Johnson. “We have therefore invested extensively in finding, licencing and establishing quarries with suitable geology and mineralogy; of course, these must also be close to markets – hence our wide national footprint.”

Based on these facilities, AfriSam’s range of offerings ensures that it can provide consulting engineers and contractors with every project requirement. According to AfriSam regional sales manager Shaughn Smit, this also means meeting the stringent demands of Committee of Transport Officials (COTO) and South African National Standards (SANS) specifications. 

“By applying the ISO 9001-2015 standards framework internally, and by applying our various quality systems at all our operations, we give customers peace of mind in terms of compliance and best practice,” says Smit. “We can provide this regardless of whether the aggregate application is in road building, readymix, concrete product manufacturing or asphalt production.”

This avoids the many risks that accompany the use of cheap, sub-standard aggregate, including its impact on the longevity and safety of structures, and the added maintenance and repairs required when structures fail prematurely. 

“Our focus on quality is cost effective as it ensures value for money over time,” he says. “It also means that contractors and their clients reduce the considerable reputational risk that project delays or challenges can cause.”

Dawneerangen says AfriSam’s depth of expertise and experience has made it a valuable partner to the consulting engineering sector, as it shares its knowledge and insights on the application of aggregate. 

“Especially with large and complex projects, our specialists are able to provide insights to assist project design at an early stage,” he says. “Where aggregates are specified for a project but are not available in the area, we can even step in to produce custom aggregates that suit customer needs.”


Leveraging new-generation crushing technology to optimise uptime at its Pietermaritzburg quarry, AfriSam will be installing a Metso C120 jaw crusher supplied by South African distributor Pilot Crushtec.

According to Glenn Johnson, general manager construction materials operations at AfriSam, the investment indicates the company’s confidence in the future, and its commitment to quality production standards. 

“Staying abreast of available technology is important in advancing our efforts to enhance our supply security and product quality, while targeting certain aggregate products demanded by the market,” says Johnson. “The C120 crusher is part of a broader technical investment at our Pietermaritzburg plant aimed at underpinning reliability of supply for customers.”

AfriSam’s facility in Pietermaritzburg provides a diverse portfolio of aggregate products  that are suitable for supply for readymix, asphalt, the civils and, road building sector as well as to concrete product manufacturers in the construction sector. Its output is currently vital to key infrastructural improvements in the area, such as the upgrades to the N3 highway south to Durban and north towards Johannesburg. 

He highlights that the high vibration impact of primary jaw crushers disseminated onto the associated designed fabricated sub-structures or concrete foundations has have long been a significant  structural integrity challenge for many aggregate quarries, and expects the new C120 crusher’s design and dampening technology to help AfriSam mitigate this risk. 

“A key consideration in choosing the Metso C120 was its proven self-dampening concept,” he says. “This will help us move away from the risks and challenges related to costly civil engineering works that were previously required to create a fixed base for the crusher.”

Theolan Govender, AfriSam’s national engineering manager, says the advantage of the Metso C120 is that the current design of the crusher incorporates a retro-fitted self-dampening system that drastically reduces the associated effects of dynamic and static loading onto these structures and associated foundations. This reduces the effects and consequences of under-structure or foundation failures. 

“It further reduces the need for complex under-structures professionally designed by consultants and the ill-effects of triggering professional indemnity on failures. Pilot Crushtec includes an additional five year/10 000 hour warranty on the sale of this product which is an added benefit when compared to their competitors,” says Govender. 

According to Sampie Kruth, AfriSam engineering manager for KwaZulu-Natal, the plant needed a proven solution to ensure that the crusher’s dynamic forces would not damage the sub-structure. 

“Many equipment suppliers in this field  are  developing their concepts in this direction, however Metso is one of the few companies that has already  tried-and-tested models that are available in the market” says Kruth. 

AfriSam regards health and safety as a key priority and in line with its protocols relating to equipment safety, the Metso C120 has a hydraulically adjusted gap setting, allowing for safe and easy adjustment. Further, the jaw liners also have their own hooking points to facilitate liner changes,  reducing the practice of welding lugs for removal.

Working closely with Pilot Crushtec on the specifications, AfriSam will also be applying a specific designed quarry liner for better continuous grading of material passing through the first crushing stage. With a feed size opening of 1,2 metre wide by 870 mm deep, the crusher’s throughput is expected to range between 200 and 300 tonnes per hour. 

Pilot Crushtec sales and marketing director Francois Marais notes that the Metso C120 is one of the most widely sold jaw crushers globally, and says that being well known for its reliability and performance, there are many units operating in southern Africa. 

“Their robust and rugged characteristics make this one of our most popular units, and replacement parts are readily available,” says Marais. 

The order also marks another step in the company’s partnership with AfriSam, with Pilot Crushtec playing an important role in providing OEM-quality support and maintenance. 


As a vital service to customers and the broader construction sector, AfriSam’s Centre for Product Excellence (CPE) continues to be a beacon of quality and high standards during recent challenging times.

According to CPE manager Mike McDonald, this has meant adapting to Covid-19 restrictions while dealing with depressed trading conditions in the sector. The centre has also continued to support customers in their quest for a low carbon future. 

“Our product development team works closely with customers to develop and test products to suit their specific application requirements,” he says. “We also conduct ongoing training for customers and the industry at large, empowering companies with skills for quality construction.”

The AfriSam CPE, based in Roodepoort, Gauteng, also supports the continuous improvement of AfriSam’s range of technology and offerings in cement and construction materials. McDonald notes that the demanding conditions in the country’s construction sector – where work in many segments is hard to find and margins are narrow – make it essential that human resources are leveraged to their utmost. 

“Skills development remains a critical aspect of contractors’ and concrete manufacturers’ competitiveness, and we have been able to continue our training programmes despite the Covid-19 pandemic,” he says. “In fact, the rapid uptake of digital communication platforms since the first lockdown has opened new opportunities for our training events.”

He highlights that the AfriSam CPE not only reaches a wide audience with its online training, but has optimised the functionality for more interactive learning as well as more effective evaluation of learners’ performance during and after training. 

“We have found that electronic questionnaires, for instance, can add considerable value in the context of adult education programmes,” he says. “This helps us to strengthen both our internal and external programmes to the benefit of the learners and their employers.”

These advances have not replaced the physical or face-to-face training though, as this remains preferable for many applications, including smaller companies who don’t have the digital infrastructure to support virtual learning. The AfriSam CPE team still goes out to site regularly, and has its own training rooms, observing the necessary health and safety protocols. 

A focus of its training is to demonstrate how the complexities of cement and concrete can be best managed to achieve quality and durable structures, thereby lowering risk and promoting business sustainability. This includes supporting small and emerging businesses with the basics of mortar, plaster and concrete production, as well as with business skills and management training. 

The AfriSam CPE is also instrumental in pursuing environmental issues related to cement and concrete use, particularly for large projects where stakeholders prioritise the carbon footprint of the materials used. 

McDonald emphasises AfriSam’s progress in becoming a leading producer of low carbon cement and concrete. While ordinary Portland cement generates about a tonne of carbon dioxide per tonne of cement, AfriSam has standard products available that generate only half that amount of emissions per tonne. 

“Carbon emissions is becoming more topical, as about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide from human activity comes from cement production,” he notes. “The AfriSam CPE collaborates with customers who want to reduce their carbon footprint, leveraging our extensive expertise ensuring they can do this without compromising quality and integrity in their structures.”

Equipped with its own laboratories, the AfriSam CPE continues to act as an independent testing agency for customers and other parties. He says this valuable service is primarily for checking internal quality, but is regularly used by smaller readymix companies who do not have their own scientifically accredited facilities. 


By ensuring that a high quality of cement is used in infrastructure, South Africa is investing for a stronger future, according to Richard Tomes, sales and marketing executive at construction materials leader AfriSam.

“With our history going back 87 years, AfriSam has sustained a significant focus on quality which today pays dividends in terms of the structures relied upon by our people and our economy,” says Tomes. “By putting the best quality materials, expertise and technology into our products, we pave the way to a brighter and more reliable future.”

The drive for quality is closely linked to being fit-for-purpose, he says, by ensuring that a range of cements is available for defined applications. In the housing sector, AfriSam has raised the bar with the quality of its All Purpose Cement so that it can be used for a number of purposes within this segment. 

“Contractors and home owners want to rely on a cement that will last, so that problems like cracks in walls do not occur,” he says. “At the same time, there may not be a high level of expertise among some users in this market, exposing them to a potential risk if they choose the wrong cement for the task.”

Mixing concrete with a cement that has been developed only for plastering, for instance, could compromise the integrity of the structure. To avoid this risk altogether, AfriSam’s All Purpose Cement meets a high spec that allows it to be used for any home-building application.

“Road building is another application where quality cement brings many benefits that end-users seldom even see or think about,” he says. “AfriSam’s Roadstab is a specialised cement that allows contractors to create a strong foundation for longer road life, while also giving them delayed setting time to conduct the necessary mixing and compaction.”

By the same token, large structures need a cement which will reduce the heat differential between the inside and outside of a large concrete mass so that cracking does not occur. Special cements to achieve this have allowed South Africans to build vital structures like dams and wind farms, vital to our economic development. 

“As we start to experience the global challenges of climate change, it is not enough to focus just on the quality of cement products themselves,” says Tomes. “We need to innovate the process of how we manufacture these products, for a more sustainable future.”

He highlights that AfriSam’s commitment to both people and the planet have ensured that quality processes have reduced the company’s carbon emissions to well below the international average for cement producers. It has even contributed to water savings by developing cements that consume less water when mixed to produce concrete.


The management of waste poses various challenges for the readymix industry, and AfriSam has been following through its commitment to People, Planet and Performance with a range of innovative solutions.

The sector’s sustainability issues include returned concrete, grey water, concrete spillage and soil contamination. Dealing with returned concrete from customer sites has long created an environmental headache for readymix producers, according to Russell Wearne, national operations manager for readymix at AfriSam. 

As part of its mission to preserve the planet for future generations, AfriSam has, over the years, developed a number of strategies regarding returned concrete.

“If we have a quarry site nearby, we are often able to recycle a considerable proportion of concrete that is returned from a site,” he says. “It is dumped in a designated, controlled area of the quarry to harden, and is then crushed and added into our G5 material – subject to the agreement of the customer.”

With the correct planning, AfriSam has also been able to cast blocks and bricks from wet returned readymix before it sets. These have been used extensively on its quarry operations for road markers and other purposes. Where the planning allows, the readymix has even contributed to community projects, going into classroom floors of needy schools, among other applications. 

Another potential environmental impact is the slurry residue that remains in a readymix truck after the product has been off-loaded. This has to be rinsed out on a daily basis to prevent material hardening on the inside of the drum. 

“The resulting grey water is carefully channelled into settling pits, from where we can use it in a number of plant activities to conserve water use,” he says. “On certain sites, the residue ‘slush’ is agitated in a pond, monitored, sampled, and re-used in the batching plant to mix with the cement, aggregate and sand.”

AfriSam has pioneered the use of covers on the discharge chutes of its readymix trucks, to avoid minor spillages of concrete on site or on the road to or from the batching plant.

“In the unlikely event of any spillage, each plant has a clean-up crew that will respond quickly with the necessary equipment,” he says. This capacity is also valuable as the country’s environmental regulations tighten up generally on the impact of construction activities. A closer focus on possible soil contamination on sites, for instance, means that suppliers must support the contractor’s environmental compliance efforts. 

“A truck that leaks oil is a source of soil contamination, so we pay special attention to ensuring this kind of pollution does not occur,” he says. “If it does, we are in a position to respond timeously and mitigate the impact.”