Condoms, diamonds give province a fillip
A R79m condom-manufacturing company is one of two new investment initiatives looking to stretch the economic impact for the province at the East London Industrial Development Zone.
The new investors, Nulatex SA and Meek Mines, were announced at the IDZ on Thursday and are expected to generate at least 450 new jobs for the Eastern Cape.
Nulatex SA CEO Kingsley Tloubatla said the company would begin production of the condoms in the first quarter of 2019 and would be supplying the local market and the government.
“We are one of the contracted companies to supply the department of health with Max condoms – coloured, flavoured and scented condoms,” Tloubatla said.
“We will be manufacturing grape, strawberry, natural and banana-flavoured condoms.”
He said being based at the East London IDZ would ensure ease of access to imports of the primary raw material, latex.
“We don’t have latex locally or within the continent.
“Most of it comes from East Asia, so being here is very beneficial for us.
“Being located here also provides the opportunity to export with ease to global markets,” he said.
“We are thoroughly excited to be able to provide quality and sustainable jobs which are much needed in this province.”
Meek Mines’ executive director Neil Isaacs said the company would not pay to establish a facility but rather invest equipment for diamond beneficiation (cutting and polishing) within an already developed facility at the East London IDZ.
“What we did as Meek Mines is sign a lease agreement to occupy this space within the East London IDZ.
“The equipment, which includes laser-cutting technology, will give us the capacity to cut and polish 20,000 carats per month,” Isaacs said.
The company has already identified three markets where the diamonds will be exported for jewelry manufacturing – the Middle East, the Far East and Brussels.
“But both local and international markets will benefit from this – 20% local and 80% international.
“With this initiative, 150 jobs will be created,” Isaacs said.
Following the announcement at the IDZ, finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane said the province welcomed the initiatives and there were more in the pipeline.
“We are aggressive as a province to ensure that we turn around the situation and turn around the economic outlook of the Eastern Cape.
“These two investments are going to help us a great deal in addressing the challenges of the outward migration where we are losing a lot in terms of our provincial equitable share.”
Simphiwe Kondlo, CEO of the East London IDZ, said the zone offered a world-class platform in terms of the infrastructure and specialised facilities being developed.
It was also part of SA’s special economic zone programme, offering incentives to manufacturers.
“With these investments, there are strong backward linkages where we can accelerate regional integration.
“We have got a highly specialised building for the mineral beneficiation [for] which we actually did benchmarking in China and looked at facilities of this nature,” Kondlo said.
“Nulatex is also moving into a facility that has been developed and is now being fashioned to accommodate pharmaceutical requirements.
“As the East London IDZ, we [are] actually leading the way for development of highly specialised facilities.”..