WATCH | SA comes to the rescue: Local company donates 30 000 masks to fight coronavirus


South African company U-Mask donated 30 000 of its premium face masks to the Chinese government to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

U-Mask's co-founder, Jordean Eksteen, told News24 that since its donation, the company had secured more business from other Asian companies and the Chinese government.

"Obviously, we know that Africa is always seen as a charity case. We are normally the ones with our hands out, always in need," said Eksteen. 

"We are finally in a position where we are able to assist and help someone else. So, we donated masks to China and basically, a lot of companies in China contacted us directly to do long-term business with us," he added.

However, with the company's new-found global exposure, the demand for masks has exceeded its capacity.

"Our back orders are now in the hundred million. It will take us years to fulfil the demand.

"We are busy adding more machines to increase our production from four to six million units per month," Eksteen said.

The U-Mask plant currently operates 24 hours a day, in shifts, to meet the growing demand.

Eksteen and his business partner, David Molosankwe, founded the personal protective equipment company, based in Pretoria, almost 10 years ago.

They specialise in manufacturing masks that are specifically designed for different African work environments such as mining, construction, petrochemical environments, and other industries.

"We know exactly what the African need is and tried to service that need. We have manufactured a mask that is made for the African face shape, African nose, even the African conditions," he said.

Eksteen added they knew how a mask was supposed to perform in Africa.

"We know the level of product that we manufacture is of the highest standard. We can compete with the biggest guys in the industry," he said.

The company now employs almost 100 people, with a focus on the youth and women.

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