Company to boost town

2018-06-13 06:01
Unveiling the plaque during the official launch of Kevali Chemicals in Harrismith on 5 June are from the left Bulelani Magwanishe (deputy minister of Trade and Industry), Dr Benny Malakoane (Free State MEC for Agriculture) and Moremoholo Mopedi (King of the Batlokwa).Photo: Supplied

Unveiling the plaque during the official launch of Kevali Chemicals in Harrismith on 5 June are from the left Bulelani Magwanishe (deputy minister of Trade and Industry), Dr Benny Malakoane (Free State MEC for Agriculture) and Moremoholo Mopedi (King of the Batlokwa).Photo: Supplied

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A multi-million-rand chemical industry, Kevali Chemicals, was launched in Harrismith on Tuesday, 5 June.

Kevali Chemicals is said to be the first black-owned manufacturing company within the chemical sector.

It manufactures a range of water treatment chemicals, cleaning and disinfecting solutions, as well as adhesives.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Bulelani Magwanishe launched the industry in this Eastern Free State town.

He was accompanied by Free State MEC for Agriculture Dr Benny Malakoane and Moremoholo Mopedi, King of the Batlokwa.

The industry is a partnership project between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The Kevali project is said to have created 57 direct and 12 indirect jobs, benefitting the local economy of Harrismith.

As part of the transaction, the IDC also enabled employees to get a stake in the business through a workers’ trust.

“Because we understand the critical importance of black industrialists’ participation in the chemical sector, funding projects such as Kevali is important to the IDC,” said Shakeel Meer, IDC’s divisional executive for Chemical and Textiles Industries.

“As a country it is crucial that we develop our own key industrial productive capabi­lities.

“We continue to invest in regional economies and ensure that black industria­lists across all provinces are unearthed and assisted to grow their businesses and local manufacturing,” said Meer.

According to Meer, Kevali Chemicals is playing a critical intermediate role in the chemicals value chain.

“Its products are a key input to the food and beve­rage industry, with busines­ses like this helping to reduce the ultimate costs to the consumer.”

This business was founded by five professionals who, as a collective, realised that they had the right composition of competencies, abilities and experience.

The name Kevali was aptly coined for the company as it means supreme knowledge.

“We see huge potential within water treatment as a black empowered company.

“We will be focusing on our water treatment division over the next two years and look at possibly expanding the plant to manufacture water treatment chemicals,” said Funeka Khumalo, executive director at Kevali Chemicals.

He said they ventured into this industry after identifying a niche in the market.

“We saw a gap in the market and put together solutions that would address these gaps,” said Khumalo.

In the last financial year, the IDC reportedly approved over R2 billion in funding in the chemicals value chain, of which over R1 billion was to black industrialists.

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