By: Tebogo Mokwena
The expanded unemployment rate in Limpopo currently stands at 49.9%, and there is a great need to employ more young people from the province, according to the owner of playground equipment manufacturing company Seketa Designs and Projects. The company has been working tirelessly to give the Limpopo youth job opportunities since 2015. Owner Seketa Letsoalo believes that by acquiring the necessary funding, the business will be able to expand and help create employment opportunities.
He said that funding would also assist the company in hiring more people through the model it used wherever it manufactured its products. Seketa manufactures playground equipment such as swings, wooden and steel jungle gyms, fantasy-play equipment for parks and crèches, steel swings, signage boards, welding, woodwork, educational toys and trampolines. Letsoalo told Vutivi News that he understood the hardship of unemployment, having experienced it himself after graduating from university.
“I was raised by a single mother and went to school to obtain a BSc in Microbiology and Physiology and an Honours in Aquaculture at the University of Limpopo,” he said. “However, getting work was extremely difficult, so at some point, I lived with my cousin in Soweto and assisted him in his business selling toys. “I learned my skills from watching YouTube after a client to whom I was selling toys asked me to make a jungle gym for him.”
Letsoalo said that he started by visiting different cities in Limpopo to source clients, and because he outsourced machinery, he came up with the idea of hiring locals. According to Letsoalo, whenever Seketa Designs and Projects received an order to deliver playground equipment, labourers were required to do the work. So, wherever he has a project in the province, he hires locals. Letsoalo said that at one stage he had more than 10 employees, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to let them go as there was no business.
During this period, he opened an eatery in Seshego in the Polokwane district to keep Seketa open and employ more people. However, the Dilong Chill Zone and Restaurant, which had two branches in Seshego, had to shut down due to lockdown restrictions. Despite these numerous challenges, Seketa was able to recover and grow. Letsoalo said he now had customers in other provinces including Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. He also hires up to 10 local skilled workers for every project in those provinces.
Letsoalo told Vutivi News that he hoped to receive funding from an investor or from companies that invest in small businesses. He is currently applying for funding from agencies in the Department of Small Business Development. He said the money would be used to get steel bending equipment and other equipment, as he currently outsourced machinery and worked with a Polokwane-based steel company that manufactured his products. He also required funding for marketing and hiring more people. “I would like to create as much employment as I can because it breaks my heart when I drive around Seshego and see young people suffering from unemployment,” he said.