By Ntombi Mhlongo
If all goes according to plan, over 200 youth of Ndzingeni Inkhundla stand a chance to be employed.
This could come because of a proposed construction of a factory shell through the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade.
Already, a date has been confirmed for the handing over of the site where the factory shell would be constructed.
The factory shell will house a group of Ndzingeni youth who are currently doing business as a cooperative under the name, Hippo Tools Eswatini.
The company is manufacturing quality garden tools and is currently operating at Mzimnene, under Ndzingeni Inkhundla.
Strikingly, the Eswatini Financial Times has gathered that a South African company known as SKT STARMARK, a designer, developer and manufacturer of ICT devices under its brand SERA has already shown interest in also operate at the factory alongside Hippo Tools Eswatini.
In an interview with Ndzingeni Inkhundla Member of Parliament, Lutfo Dlamini confirmed that a date has been set for the handing over of the site where the factory will be constructed.
The MP said Hippo Tools Eswatini is currently operating in small premises which compelled them to seek assistance from the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo.
“We engaged the minister with a request for the construction of a factory shell to be built for these hardworking young people. This whole project will be mind-blowing, to say the least especially if you look at the fact that in the country, we do not have a company that manufactures garden tools, so this is big,” the MP said.
It has been gathered that in the proposal that was sent to the minister, Hippo Tools Eswatini said it had invested in equipment for commercially producing garden implements like forks and rakes.
The Eswatini Financial Times has established that the youth asked for a 20m x 20m- sized factory shell with offices so they can produce more tools for a wider market.
They also envision employing 100 youths at the initial stage.
This publication has also gathered that the minister has encouraged them to submit a proposal so that it can be considered in the national budget through the Regional Development Fund (RDF).
SA company planning to create over 1 000 jobs
Meanwhile, the proposal submitted by the SA company (STK STARMARK) reflects that it wants to focus on consumer electronics manufacturing. The building area required by the company, according to the proposal, is 900 sqm while the required number of employees has been set at 150.
In this regard, the Ndzingeni MP confirmed knowledge of the proposal and he alluded to the fact that the key product that would be produced by the company are tablets mostly sold to schools.
In the proposal, it is stated that the company has a target of a production capacity of 18 000 Android-based tablets per month. The company has the vision to be a leader in turning imaginations into realities to better the world.
It also boasts of being guided by a standard of being innovative through doing new own culture by the continuation and excellence. In explaining its production system, the company mentioned in the proposal that it challenges academic and economic manufacturing products by using the U-cell production line.
It also boasts of having a flexible line in proportion to the quantity of production by shaking up work and multi-skilled employees. In terms of the number of employees, the company said in the proposal that about 200 people stand to get jobs.
“With growth potential, SKT can have the ability to employ up to 1 000 young people directly/indirectly and can be a platform for skills transfer for interns and school leavers. This can be further increased by a 30 per cent per annum growth target, which is in line with current market potential and operational growth. SKT will help support manufacturing and export rights of its learning technology tools for the Southern African market. The products released by SKT can be exported within the region and Africa as a whole thereby earning the country much-needed foreign currency,” reads part of the proposal.
In terms of economic and social empowerment, the company promised that it will help support manufacturing and export rights of its learning technology tools for the Southern African market. The products released by SKT can be exported within the region and Africa as a whole, thereby earning the country much-needed foreign currency.
“SKT has a Synthetic Shares Scheme, which means that every employee, regardless of their position, has a share in the company. In acknowledgement of the valuable duty of our civil servants, SKT will provide a special discount for children with parents who work for the government. These civil servants include soldiers, nurses, police, parliamentarians, and other governmental employees,” the company said.
Of key importance is that the construction of more factory shells fulfils the promise made by the government in 2019 which stated that it intended to create 50 000 jobs through the construction of 40 factory shells in four years. Recently, it was revealed that the demand by investors for factory shells in the Kingdom of Eswatini is exceptionally high.
This was shared by Eswatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA) Senior Executive Manager-Investment Promotion Dr Khanyisile Dlamini during the handover of the site earmarked for the construction of the Jonsson Workwear Factory in Nhlangano.
Besides the Jonsson Workwear, the government also handed over a factory shell to Kellogg’s Tolarum Eswatini (Pty) LTD which is a Noodles manufacturing company. Construction of the Gamula Factory Shell is also ongoing and there are also plans to invest in similar projects in Ndzevane and Mantambe areas.
Between these four projects, the government projected that about 6 000 direct and 2 000 indirect job opportunities would be created.