Limpopo entrepreneur Vincent Mabunda identified a gap provided by the boom in construction in rural villages and is now living his dream. Mabunda runs the Miya Roofing which manufactures roofing sheets from light, medium and heavy duty in galvanized or chromadek. So far it has created employment for 30 people.
The business which started operating during the covid-19 lockdown last year is run from a workshop in the Nkowankowa Industrial Park near Tzaneen which was recently visited by the minster of tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi Ngubane and MEC for economic development, environment and tourism Thabo Mokone.
The visit was part of a mission to assess the impact of covid-19 on SMMEs. “The business we operate came as a solution to a problem. As I noticed that many of my people are building houses and buildings that are a top trend, unique designs and very articulated roofs, but the problem was acquiring a quality roof sheet that would really give a unique signature to their designs, a roof sheet that has a long life, reliable, toughest coating to withstand Limpopo’s harsh weather conditions and less maintenance,” Mabunda said.
The Nkowankowa Industrial Park is one of the business areas targeted for refurbishment by the government. Limpopo premier Chupu Mathabatha said during this year’s State of the Province Address that through an R40 million investment by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, the government is refurbishing factories at the Nkowankowa Industrial Park. He said the factories are now 95% complete.
“The refurbishment of the Seshego Industrial Park has helped to benefit no less than 75 Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises. The Seshego Industrial Park is currently at 85% occupancy rate. The initiative has created approximately one thousand three hundred jobs.
“The Thohoyandou Industrial Park is at 91% occupancy rate. The project has created over three hundred jobs and we are hopeful that with increased capacity and more investment, more jobs will be created,” said Mathabatha.
Mathabatha said this intervention has benefitted local SMMEs and has helped to create around 174 direct jobs.
“The Nkowankowa Industrial Park is currently at 88% occupancy rate. To date the Nkowankowa Industrial Park is host to no less than 823 direct jobs,” he said.
Mabunda said they are aware of the government’s plans.
“We are aware of the government’s plan to assist black industrialists like ourselves. So far there is an intent to provide us with the COVID Relief to assist in rental payments of the facilities we are currently operating in. We believe we are apart of the refurbishment of Nkowankowa Industrial park as we see most factories that have been closed for years starting to operate.
“Our premises that we are operating on is also part of the refurbishment as when we moved in the building itself was like it was brand new. We were worried at first because we thought we had a lot of work to in terms of getting the place back in shape and fortunately we only needed little touch-ups,” he said.
But the operation is not without challenges. The company is not yet connected to the electricity grid and is reliant on a generator which is proving costly to operate. “Due to the lack of electricity and the amount of diesel we use on a weekly basis we had to put
15 of our employees on hold, the reason being the amount of money for diesel is equivalent to six employees’ salaries when we calculate it monthly,” Mabunda said.
Mabunda believed their location in a predominantly rural area is an added plus to rural development. “For us operating far from the big cities is not as challenging because our target market is right within our grasp. we are focused on contributing to rural development as we think it is the right area to focus on right now because many people are working in the big cities but they are
actually erecting magnificent structures within their respective villages,” he said.
– Mukurukuru Media