Tag Archives: AfriSam

AFRISAM WORKS WITH SANTEQ TO BRING THEMBISA SOLID HOMES

In a housing market that is desperate for quality, robust and affordable homes, advanced building technology frontrunner, Sanjo Fabtech Sterling has been collaborating with construction materials leader, AfriSam, to deliver just that in Thembisa. 

At the heart of the 500 unit, fast tracked housing project is Sanjo Fabtech Sterling’s advanced, lightweight wall technology, delivering solid four-storey ‘walk-up’ residential buildings that will be ready by mid-year. According to Jonathan Peel, director at Sanjo Fabtech Sterling, the walling systems used in Thembisa have recently also been used in upmarket Sandton apartments and hotel projects.

AfriSam is supplying an innovative lightweight readymix solution designed and developed by Sanjo Fabtech Sterling’s sister company, SanteQ Liteweight Building Technology, for the Thembisa project. The lightweight concrete mix designs combine recycled polystyrene with SanteQ’s specialised concrete mixes. 

The readymix infill for the walling system is supplied by AfriSam and pumped into the void between the fibre cement boards which acts as permanent formwork. The polystyrene creates mechanical air bubbles, reducing the weight of the walls by 50 to 75% when compared to traditional masonry materials, and offering distinct design and engineering benefits.

“Due to dolomitic soil conditions in the Thembisa area, the weight advantage of the walls significantly reduced the design of the raft foundation.” says Peel. “Despite their lighter weight, the walls are as solid as brick and mortar, pass the ‘knock test’ and provide better sound and thermal insulation.”

“Delivering from our nearby Olifantsfontein plant, we could provide Sanjo Fabtech Sterling with 48 to 102 cubic metres a day of their special mix in our readymix trucks,” said Luigi van der Made, AfriSam’s readymix operations manager. “Using four of our six cubic metre capacity readymix trucks, we were able to add the polystyrene on site and create a homogenised mix.”

The special lightweight concrete mix – which does not use coarse aggregate – includes fine and coarse sands as well as fly ash with the cement. CHRYSO® Omega 140 AFR ZA, a high range, water reducing plasticiser is also included to increase the slump while reducing the water requirement.

“Keeping a constant supply flowing with four dedicated readymix trucks, we ensured that the mix remained consistent, workable and cost-effective,” says van der Made. “The final infill mixture was then be pumped into the walls, speeding up the construction process.”

He notes that the process had to be closely controlled to prevent residual polystyrene in the readymix trucks from contaminating any other process back at the plant. This required a careful cleaning process, which also included a recycling circuit to separate the polystyrene and return it to SanteQ for recycling.  

SA CEMENT PRODUCERS ENGAGING FOR SUSTAINABILITY

The cement industry in South Africa continues to engage government to create conditions that will sustain the sector’s local production capacity and grow market demand.

Speaking online at the Cemtech International Cement Conference, AfriSam marketing and sales executive Richard Tomes noted that the rise in cement imports and the application of the carbon tax were among the key issues under discussion. He said that the local industry was making steady progress in its climate mitigation journey, and that South Africa was among the leading countries in driving down the carbon footprint in the cement and concrete industry. 

He highlighted that cement imports were on the increase again, having peaked in 2014 at about 1,2 million tonnes. Importers were generally from countries which did not have a carbon tax like that which was recently applied by the South African government to local producers. Neither did the importers contribute in terms of Social and Labour Plan initiatives, as they did not conduct any mining activities locally, as well as other projects related to the upliftment of local communities. 

“When you have a situation where importers of cement are not subject to these added costs, it poses a threat to the viability of the local industry, and will ultimately have a negative implication on the levels of employment and social transformation,” he said. 

These imbalances were exacerbating the stresses arising from the country’s longest ever business cycle contraction, which had seen infrastructure spending decline and had driven some large construction companies into business rescue. The Covid-19 pandemic had then accelerated this downward trajectory, leading to dire conditions in the large civils and building industries.  

“It has become increasingly difficult to maintain profitability in an environment of surplus cement capacity and declining infrastructure spending by government,” he said. “The sector’s total installed capacity is currently about 20 million tonnes, with demand at only around 13 million tonnes.”

Despite the poor performance of the economy, Tomes noted that the South African cement sector was continuing to improve its climate mitigation performance in terms of carbon footprint. The local industry was a global leader in developing blended cement technology, making use of waste products such as ground granulated blast furnace slag and pulverised fly ash to extend and enhance its cements.

“This has allowed companies like AfriSam, for example, to achieve average emission levels in its cement production of 574 g/kg – which is well below the global average of 890 g/kg,” he said.

AFRISAM GEARED UP FOR BETTER YEAR IN ROADWORK

With some important road contracts secured for 2021, AfriSam is well placed to bring more capacity on stream as and when there is an upswing in South Africa’s roadbuilding sector.

This is according to AfriSam’s Construction Materials Executive, Avi Bhoora, who says the company will be supplying construction material to the significant road upgrade from Lynnfield Park to Dardanelles, south of Pietermaritzburg.

“The construction materials market is now only about a third of its 2012 level, when roadbuilding in the country was at its peak,” says Bhoora. “The whole construction sector is looking forward to the release of more road upgrade projects this year, especially on the N2 and N3 national highways.”

He says there are nine work packages expected to be released by the road authority, which could together add up to about R40 billion in contract values. AfriSam has recently been active in the Watt Street Interchange Project in Wynberg near Sandton, where it provided almost 9,000 m3 of readymix for concrete works. This contract included two large, challenging concrete pours of over 550 m3 each. 

It has also been busy in KwaZulu-Natal, including a bridge upgrade in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project at Inanda Road and interchange upgrades in Westville, Richmond Road and Camperdown. 

AfriSam’s strategy for the future includes gearing up for more rural work, in addition to its traditional focus on urban centres. 

“This means becoming more flexible and mobile in our operations,” he says, “such as converting equipment to a modular format that can be readily moved to and operated from outlying areas.”

Bhoora notes that roadbuilders who are concerned about their carbon footprint will prioritise having a commercial supply of construction material as close to the road project as possible. This will reduce emissions from the trucks transporting the material. With AfriSam’s commitment to quality and environmental management, he emphasises that customers can always be assured that their construction material will be compliant and to specification – irrespective of location.

“Road contractors look to AfriSam for solutions to two important aspects of achieving a quality road: modification and stabilisation,” says Bhoora. “When contractors must deal with lower quality material on site – with high clay content and plasticity index (PI) – this generally needs to be modified with the use of lime.”

This means that higher quality – or ‘bluer’ materials from the underlying rock layers rather than from the overburden – may require additional strengthening through stabilisation. AfriSam’s Roadstab cement is a popular solution, with its 32.5 classification in terms of the SANS 50917-1 standard. It is manufactured at the company’s Dudfield and Ulco factories.

AFRISAM WORKING TO KEEP ‘PLANET’ FRONT-OF-MIND

Having met the requirements of South Africa’s environmental regulations, AfriSam is proudly moving beyond compliance toward a more sustainable future.

As the first cement manufacturer in southern Africa to publish an environmental policy – as early as 1994 – environmental concerns are a central mandate for the management team, according to Nivashni Govender, environmental specialist at AfriSam. 

“We consider ourselves as leaders in this field within the cement and construction materials sector, as it has been our focus since the early 1990s,” says Govender. “Our prioritisation of people, planet and performance is now a personal commitment for each employee in their area of work.”

This highlights that, with government regulation becoming steadily more stringent, AfriSam has now identified that four of the 10 most high risk Acts governing the company’s compliance  relate to the environment.”

These four Acts – the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), the National Water Act, the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act and the National Environmental Management Waste Act – have provided the framework against which AfriSam has been continuously improving its environment-related performance, she says. 

“With the commitment from as high up as board level, we will be increasing our environmental awareness levels within the business this year,” she says. “This supports not only the senior and middle management levels who drive environmental compliance, but also is important in raising awareness among all employees.”

Managing water

Water is a key focus for the company across its cement, readymix and aggregate divisions, she highlights. At the cement operations, considerable water volumes are required for dust suppression and other purposes – so rainwater is collected and stored in sumps, as well as in the mining areas. This is used to meet many of the plant requirements, to the extent that the Ulco plant near Barkly West in the Northern Cape, does not rely on municipal water supply. Drawing a limited volume from the Vaal River, the operation treats water for its own use, including potable water,  thus reducing reliance on the already stressed municipal system. 

“The same principles apply at our aggregate operations, where the aim is to reduce any consumption from municipal sources, thereby easing pressure on their resources,” says Govender. 

At the readymix operations, water is extensively reused and recycled. Among the most water intensive activities is the cleaning out and washing of concrete residue from the inside of concrete mixer drums after product is delivered. This water is channelled and stored in lined settlement facilities, and is then reused in the batching process of making concrete. 

“It is also vital for us to monitor water quality at our cement and aggregate plants, so we conduct monthly testing on all applicable waterpoints,” she says. “By applying certain parameters for identifying chemicals through SANAS accredited laboratories, we are able to pick up any signs of pollution timeously and respond accordingly.”

It is also important to have all stormwater facilities in good working order, to maintain the separation of clean and dirty water. AfriSam has invested heavily over the years in the implementation of stormwater plans for its cement and aggregate facilities.

Emissions

As part of the global effort to reduce carbon emissions and put the brakes on climate change, AfriSam has taken a number of approaches over the past 20 years to reducing its carbon footprint. These range from the development of composite (or extended) cements to ongoing energy-efficiency initiatives at its cement plants.

The company has for many years been a leader – along with other local industry players – in the development of composite cements. These cements contain not only clinker but other cementitious materials such as fly ash from power stations and ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) from steel-making plants. The scientific usage of these products into AfriSam’s cement significantly enhances the performance of the resulting concrete without compromising on quality.

“In addition to essentially re-using waste products from other industries, this process also reduces the amounts of limestone that we have to mine and clinker we have to produce, again reducing carbon emissions from those processes, as well as reducing waste to landfill,” she says. “We are constantly searching for new extenders and additives to further reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the environment as a whole.”

At the cement plants themselves, AfriSam is busy with a five-year emission reduction programme to upgrade various key items of equipment. This will reduce emissions in alignment with the minimum emission requirements as contained in Section 21 of the NEM: Air Quality Act.

Controlling dust

Concern with air quality extends beyond point source emissions from stacks, to the management of fugitive dust created at the company’s operations. In the cement and aggregate quarries, dust fallout monitoring has been conducted for many years. Levels of dust fall-out are checked on a monthly basis, and can now be usefully analysed and trended to better understand how levels change according to the seasons and onsite activities. 

“Our monitoring efforts over the years have generated sufficient data to now allow us to proactively identify activities that contribute to increase in dust fallout, such as the windy season between August and October,” she says. “We can then implement more intensive management measures during this particular period, such as increased dust suppression on haul roads and on stockpiles.”

Dust fallout monitoring is not legally required at readymix sites currently, but AfriSam conducts this proactive monitoring nonetheless, with a particular focus on determining the potential environmental effects the operations may have on surrounding areas. 

Less waste 

Govender emphasises that the company has established more aggressive recycling targets for this year, encouraging all operations to increase their reuse and recycling of general waste and thereby reducing the amount of waste destined for landfill. 

“At the readymix sites, for instance, unused concrete that is returned from construction sites is taken to the nearest AfriSam quarry to be recrushed and re-used at a later stage,” she says. “This recycled aggregate and crushed cementitious material can then – in consultation with the customer – be used to augment aggregate orders.”

She notes that this process reduces the amount of aggregate that needs to be mined and crushed, saving energy and reducing associated dust and carbon emissions. It also removes unsightly waste concrete from the surface environment and again reduces waste to landfill.  

In terms of AfriSam’s 2021 roadmap, all company operations are steadily rehabilitating a portion of their disturbed footprint, part of an overall effort to reintroduce biodiversity to mined out areas and return these areas to a self-sustaining landform. The biodiversity management plan implemented a few years ago supports this effort.

“Environmental stewardship is today an integral part of any responsible business, representing the seriousness with which we view our role as custodians of our fragile planet on behalf of future generations,” says Govender.

SOLID FOUNDATION FOR DE WATERKANT HERITAGE PROJECT

Variable ground conditions at an upmarket mixed-use development in Cape Town has demanded some innovative solutions from contractor GVK-Siya Zama Construction and readymix specialist AfriSam.

At the Old Cape Quarter project in De Waterkant, four floors of luxury apartments are being added to retail and office space. This meant substantial strengthening of the foundations and columns to accommodate the increased load, according to Garth Robb, contracts director at GVK-Siya Zama Construction. This was not a straightforward process, says Robb, with insufficient space in the basement areas for normal class 3 formwork. 

“We made extensive use of biscuit columns, where we added reinforcing around the old existing columns and core-drilled at an angle from above – adding grout to beef up the column sizes,” he says. “We core-drilled through the base to transfer the load onto the piling, with a number of columns and bases needing to be demolished and reconstructed.”

A key complication was that concrete could only be poured manually into the biscuit columns by wheelbarrow, through 60mm core holes from the slab above. Each column took up to an hour to pour, with admixtures accelerating the hardening rate of this highly fluid 60MPa concrete. 

“There was no option but for concrete to be delivered in smaller volumes, otherwise the concrete would harden in the trucks before it could be used,” he says. “AfriSam worked closely with us to find a solution, which was to deliver just one cubic metre of readymix at a time.”

Readymix trucks usually carry six to eight cubic metres, so carrying just a fraction of this had severe implications for efficiency. However, the situation demanded flexibility from both partners, says AfriSam territory manager Melanie Ross, and the needs of the customer had to come first. 

“Also, the pours could only start in the afternoon, and often continued beyond the 18h00 deadline agreed between the contractor and the authorities,” says Ross. “So extended permissions were obtained, and the AfriSam-contracted drivers agreed to put in the extra time until pours were completed.”

AfriSam supplied over 9,700 m3 of readymix to the Old Cape Quarter project, and about 10 different concrete mixes for different applications. These came from the company’s Woodstock plant about 8km from site and its Peninsula Quarry plant at Durbanville.

RUSTENBURG MALL – BUILT ON CONCRETE RELATIONSHIPS

The new 40 000m² Rustenburg Mall shopping centre remains on track for completion in April 2021, with main contractor Beckers Bouaannemers relying on readymix partner AfriSam for its concrete production capacity and technical know-how.

The project – where construction began in October 2019 – is set to meet its timelines despite three months of lockdown during which no construction activities could take place. According to Barend Becker, director of Beckers Bouaannemers, a large contract like this demands a well-resourced and responsive concrete partner, which is why the company has a long history with AfriSam.

Starting out as a small hardware retailer in Centurion over 30 years ago, with a doorframe installation as its first construction job, Beckers Bouaannemers has grown into a substantial construction company delivering multi-million projects for its clients.

“Over the years, we have built a good relationship with AfriSam,” says Becker. “We know that we can trust them to provide us with excellent service and a quality product. They work closely with us during the construction phase to make sure that our requirements are met.”

Once completed, a total of 14 000m³ of readymix concrete will have been used for the various construction components such as surface beds, columns and other structural elements as well as ancillary work. For this project, the construction team chose a more environmentally-friendly concrete mix that used a slag stone as an aggregate option. This was selected in conjunction with AfriSam, who worked with the project engineer to find an optimal mix design to meet all quality specifications.

“We rely on AfriSam’s expertise in the design of concrete mixes, to provide us with the best-suited product for each specific application,” says Cobus Mouton, contract manager at Beckers Bouaannemers. “All AfriSam products deliver a quality build, but we especially like their surface bed product which has a promising seven-day early strength result and provides a smooth finish.”

Mouton admits it has been a challenging year, with Covid-19 proving extremely disruptive to the company’s construction projects.

“However, our suppliers and subcontractors – including AfriSam – have pulled out all the stops to ensure that we bring this project back on track,” he says. “We are extremely grateful to all our subcontractors for the important role they have played in making up the lost time.”

Despite the disruption of the pandemic, 2020 has been a record year for AfriSam’s readymix plant in Rustenburg. In addition to the Rustenburg Mall, the plant is also supplying readymix concrete for the construction of another large mall in the vicinity. 

“To meet our customers’ demand, the plant operates six days a week during the peak construction period from September to December,” says Gerhardus Maree, operational manager at AfriSam Readymix. “This means starting our supply to customers early in the morning and working through until late at night.”

The increased production for concurrently supplying both these large projects has demanded careful logistical planning from AfriSam. To meet the construction programme requirements, seven more readymix trucks were relocated to Rustenburg from other AfriSam plants in Gauteng.

The large pours on both projects – sometimes between 500 m³ and 600 m³ a day – have meant that raw material management was also critical. With limited silo capacity at the plant, the delivery of cement, aggregate and slag had to be carefully planned with raw material suppliers.

An extra batching plant was also erected on the existing premises to ensure there were no delays in supplying both projects. This plant produces an average of 58 m³ of concrete per hour.

AfriSam’s readymix plant in Rustenburg, in operation since the 1980s, has supplied concrete to Rustenburg landmarks such as the Netcare Ferncrest Hospital, Waterfall Mall, the Royal Bafokeng housing project and Tharisa Mine.

“Our ultimate goal is to provide our customers with the best possible service,” concludes Maree.

FLY ASH RESEARCH PAVES WAY TO EVEN GREENER CEMENT

South Africa’s pioneering role in the use of fly ash in cement production opens the door for the country to reduce its carbon emissions while retaining a strong and innovative cement sector.

This is according to Hannes Meyer, cementitious executive at South African construction materials leader AfriSam, who says the local sector has already made great strides in reducing its carbon footprint. By incorporating fly ash – as well as ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) – in its cements, AfriSam reduced its carbon emissions per tonne of cement by over 30% between 2000 and 2018.

There are other environmental benefits from using more fly ash, including a reduction in the amount of coal ash that power stations must dump on surface. About two-thirds of the ash produced worldwide still ends up in ash ponds or landfill sites, says Meyer. Fly ash comprises the fine particles of coal ash that rise with flue gases from burning coal, and is usually removed by electrostatic precipitators or bag filters.

“Fly ash extends the volume of cement while adding valuable cementitious qualities to the final product,” Meyer says. “This on its own reduces the amount of energy-intensive clinker that must be produced – thereby economising on the energy our plants must consume.”

More than that, he says, the use of fly ash can also replace the traditional non-renewable products in the manufacture of clinker. These include limestone and shale, which have to be mined at considerable cost. AfriSam has been researching this area for some time, with exciting results.

“The use of fly ash in clinker production means less carbon dioxide is produced,” he says. “Usually, calcium carbonate in the limestone must first be converted to calcium oxide, and this generates carbon dioxide. The calcium in ash, however, has already been converted in calcium oxide and silicate form.”

Meyer highlights the strategic importance of this kind of research and development for the future of the South African economy. He urges that revenues from the government’s recent carbon tax be carefully channelled into incentivising this kind of innovation in the market.

“The carbon tax needs to play a supportive role in gearing up the economy for a low-carbon future,” he says. “This is in fact vital to off-set the negative impact that the tax could have on the cement sector’s global competitiveness and its capacity to retain or create jobs.”

The danger of the tax rising to unsustainable levels in future was that local clinker manufacturing facilities could be moved offshore to untaxed jurisdictions. The cheaper clinker would then be imported, and the number of jobs required to produce cement locally would drop significantly.

AFRISAM AND THE ENVIRONMENT – AN ONGOING PARTNERSHIP

AfriSam is synonymous with environmentally conscious manufacturing processes, honouring their values of ‘People, Planet and Performance’. As a leading supplier of construction materials, AfriSam has over many years pioneered and sustained numerous initiatives towards a greener planet across all its business units, for the benefit of all stakeholders and at all touchpoints.

As one of the top ten CO2 emitters globally when measured per capita, the cement manufacturing industry is often singled out as the culprit in the greenhouse gas debate and comes under fire regularly to reduce its carbon footprint.

“AfriSam was at the forefront to introduce proactive measures in the southern African cement manufacturing sector,” according to Nivashni Govender, environmental specialist at AfriSam. “To put actions to our concerns, we established our own environmental department as early as 1992 and developed an environmental policy just two years later.”

“Continuous investment in research and development has enabled AfriSam to improve processes, technology and products with the ultimate goal of energy optimisation and emission reduction encompassing the complete range of our products: aggregate, cement and concrete,” says Govender.

“It is in our cement manufacturing business where the most notable impact on the lowering of carbon emissions is achieved. Our ongoing focus on alternative fuels and resources (AFRs) has allowed us to steadily reduce the amount of coal burnt in our cement kilns, which in turn contributes to lower CO2 emissions,” Govender says. “One example is at our Dudfield plant where we developed and implemented process modifications to allow us to co-process scrap tyres – a strategy that also contributes significantly to addressing the environmental hazards posed by tyres when they are disposed of in a landfill.”

Govender continues: “Cement kiln emission improvement has been the AfriSam way for a long time, setting the benchmark for others.”

“The introduction of our green cement product range in 2000 added to our goal of becoming one of the lowest CO2 generators per ton of cement in Africa,” she expands. “The use of extenders in our cement has resulted in a substantial reduction in our clinker factor without compromising the quality of our products.”

Energy and water conservation are ongoing programmes, featuring high on AfriSam’s environmental agenda, according to Govender. Energy efficient lighting has been installed across the company’s cement, readymix and aggregate quarry facilities, and water conservation has become a priority in all its operations.

“Our programmes focus on reducing the amount of water per ton of cement and aggregate produced, or per ton of readymix prepared,” she says. “Our readymix plants, for instance, have strict re-use and recycling processes, and must recycle at least 50% of their grey water generated, on-site.”

Dust suppression remains another critical environmental priority for all AfriSam readymix plants. Where deemed necessary as an additional measure, automatic dust suppression systems using fine recycled water mist have been installed around the perimeter of identified plants with additional systems where the readymix trucks are loaded.

“When it comes to aggregate production, rehabilitation and biodiversity at our quarry sites is a priority. As early as 1986 AfriSam formed the first trust of its kind specifically to cater for rehabilitation costs on closure – even before this was a legislated requirement for mines,” she says. “Our current strategy of concurrent rehabilitation – in which we rehabilitate as we mine – has proved very effective both from an environmental and ecological perspective, as well as a cost perspective.”

AfriSam’s attention to protect and foster biodiversity, especially where species are protected by law or are endangered, involves detailed and ongoing research to measure the environmental impact of operations on species of flora and fauna. As a commitment to protecting biodiversity, specific biodiversity plans have been developed across all cement and aggregate sites.

“Environmental protection also has implications when it comes to cultural heritage,” says Govender. “When an area of underground caves were discovered at one of our then active quarries near Sterkfontein in Gauteng – part of a World Heritage Site – we decided that the value of this contribution to our country’s cultural heritage and scientific knowledge far outweighed any income the quarry could generate for the company. Working with the University of the Witwatersrand, we donated this valuable national treasure over for scientific and public use, while continuing to support its maintenance.”

The environmental focus extends to the management of waste generated at all operations, where oil, conveyor belts and pallets are reused or recycled wherever possible, and waste is separated on site to allow for more environmentally friendly disposal. Disposal to landfill is the last option.

In addition to taking responsibility for their own actions, AfriSam plays a leading role in creating awareness and establishing open debate about sustainability within the broader context of the industry. One such platform is the “AfriSam-SAIA Awards for Sustainable Architecture + Innovation”, launched in 2009.

The awarded projects and programmes make a positive contribution to communities and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as the reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation and the use of sustainable or renewable construction materials.

“AfriSam’s reputation of caring for the planet, people and the environment is evident in the way we manufacture our vast product offering and how we conduct our business,” Govender concludes. “This philosophy is underpinned by the Centre of Product Excellence and applies to all business units to actively measure and manage their impact on the environment, whilst continuing to produce high performance products with low carbon footprints”.

AFRISAM PROVIDES CONCRETE OPPORTUNITIES TO UPLIFT WOMEN IN BUSINESS

As the country battles the Coronavirus pandemic and its devastating effect on lives and livelihoods, for a company in the west of Johannesburg, there was a silver lining during this health crisis.

Protective clothing manufacturer, Pello Yabasadi Business Enterprise was jolted into action by the crisis and received an opportunity when South Africa’s leading construction materials producer, AfriSam placed an order of thousands of masks for its workforce. This was a profitable contract for a small manufacturer that was facing despair due to the lockdown and the subsequent slowing business activity.

AfriSam prioritizes local entrepreneurs and always try to create concrete opportunities for them, their businesses, and the society at large. When the Covid-19 outbreak began in March, the company came up with a strategy to turn this problematic situation into an opportunity.

According to government regulations it is a requirement for every individual to wear a face mask. AfriSam got in touch with Tumi Phooko, the owner of Pello Yabasadi Business Enterprise, a woman-led company in the health and safety sector and placed an order of 5000 face masks for its workforce. Pello Yabasadi Business Enterprise is a beneficiary of AfriSam’s Enterprise and Supplier Development programme and the company wanted to use this opportunity to create an additional revenue stream for this enterprise.

“When I received the order from AfriSam, I was a bit overwhelmed because my company had never received an order of such a large quantity of products” says Phooko. The entrepreneur is a beneficiary who received business development training and mentorship from AfriSam’s Business Development Centre and graduated in 2018.

Not only did AfriSam support this entrepreneur through the order of masks, the company also assisted the business to acquire a permit to conduct business during the lockdown period. In addition, AfriSam provided capital as part of its Supplier Development Programme to purchase some material which could also be used to supply masks to other customers.

AfriSam’s national procurement manager, Zunaid Rasdien, says the Pello Yabasadi Enterprise project was part of the company’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic through provision of health protocol compliant products.

Pello Yabasadi Enterprise produces quality corporate clothing, uniforms, protective gear, safety shoes and now face masks and has been in operation for five years. “Samples of her products were tested and passed our safety quality control measures, enabling us to trust her masks to protect our workforce during this pandemic.” Rasdien adds.

In South Africa, women have been previously disadvantaged, marginalized and still find it extremely hard to secure tenders, contracts, good jobs or at least earn the same wages as their male counterparts. Unemployment remains high and the gap between the employment of men and women is exceedingly high.

Prior to the order of 5000 masks, AfriSam had provided support to Pello Yabasadi in 2019 by purchasing an embroidery machine at an interest free loan as acquiring funds remains a big challenge, especially for small businesses.

“The machine that AfriSam purchased for us enables us to do more beautifully branded products, quicker, something that we were not able to do before. This is certainly a game changer for us, and we are grateful for it”, Phooko concludes.

Over the years, AfriSam has been working to bridge the employment gap and empower entrepreneurs, especially women from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as those near their operations. The company has initiated several projects to uplift disadvantaged local communities. 

During this difficult time, AfriSam will continue to adhere and support government’s lockdown laws, regulations, and initiatives to fight the outbreak and will carry on empowering local entrepreneurs where they can. ‘It is AfriSam’s desire to see more of the company’s enterprise development beneficiaries receiving continuous business support as part of their growth’, Rasdien concludes.

AFRISAM MAKES A CONCRETE CONTRIBUTION TO THE LEAP SCHOOL IN DIEPSLOOT

In a partnership that started in 2014, AfriSam has donated construction materials for the construction of the new LEAP Maths and Science School in Diepsloot, Gauteng.  AfriSam was approached by one of the main sponsors of the school, Aveng Infraset, to support this initiative through the donation of cement and readymix products.

Established in 2011, the LEAP School is attended by over 200 children from the impoverished Diepsloot community, and until now they have had to attend their classes in rented space in a converted warehouse. 

On Tuesday, 14 July 2020, the school celebrated the opening of its new campus during a virtual launch event. The new purpose-built school campus now boasts 11 classrooms, a learning centre, library, computer centre, administration block and a community hall.

“We are extremely grateful to AfriSam for the invaluable role they have played in making our dream a reality. They have made a positive contribution to the education of our youth and future leaders of South Africa”, says John Gilmour, LEAP Executive Director & Founder. 

During the construction phase of the project, AfriSam donated 150 tons of its Dry Mortar mix for bricklaying and plastering, 840 bags of its All Purpose Cement used in the rammed earth construction method as well as 119 m³ of readymix concrete for foundations and other structural elements.

AfriSam prides itself on making a positive contribution to local communities in areas within which it operates. “AfriSam operates a number of quarries in the area, and we were excited to get involved in this worthy initiative. The focus in this area is to understand the needs of communities and make meaningful and sustainable contributions to their upliftment”, says Amit Dawneerangen, AfriSam Readymix General Manager.

The product donation for the construction of the LEAP school in Diepsloot is in line with the company’s corporate social investment focus of education and youth development. The company is involved in various educational projects, with the aim of empowering and equipping communities with the necessary knowledge and skills, as well as providing them with the tools and facilities to become self-reliant and sustainable.

“On behalf of AfriSam, we would like to congratulate the LEAP School on the completion of their new school campus. We are proud to be associated with such a beacon of hope in the community. We wish the teachers and learning at the LEAP School all the best. Happy learning!” Dawneerangen concludes.