A new electronic manufacturing company has opened in the Atlantis industrial area, employing 116 people living in the town bedevilled with high unemployment levels.
Having invested R25 million, the company Tellumat, which specialises in commercial communications, defence communications and electronic manufacturing, has set up a plant for the manufacture of high definition television sets and flat screen computer monitors.
Yesterday Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille cut the red ribbon in a symbolic opening of the factory.
Speaking earlier, Davies said the opening of the facility will help to “revitalise the economic activities within this depressed area of Atlantis”– a township characterized by gang violence and a high rate of unemployment.
South Africa, Davies said, has seen an increase in the number of local manufactures of televisions from five in 2007, to nine companies this year that are producing well-established brands and employing around 1400 people in total.
Davies said in the past five years his department approved R35m in grants, against the private investment of R185m to upgrade the technological capacity of the sector.
He said his department has assisted Tellumat in setting up its state of the art facility with a manufacturing investment grant of R2.64m from capital outlay of R12m to resuscitate the old Tedelex factory, which shut down in 2010.
“If one particular player was not able to make the grade one particular player fills the space,” said Davies in direct reference to the closure of Tedelex.
Tellumat Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rasheed Hargey said his company has produced 370 000 Television sets and invested R25m in Atlantis since 2010.
The company was however challenged with cheap imports of television sets and the high cost of doing business labour costs and utility costs.
Davies said he was more than happy to work with the industry with regards to addressing illegal imports of electronic products.
He said the intelligence provided by the industry was “very fundamental”
“We better defend our own manufacturers…intelligence from your side is very important,” he said.
Zille said it was “absolutely wonderful” to see the resurrection of Atlantis.
“If context is conducive and the environment looks secure that is how businesses are created and grow,” said Zille.
But government, she said, can’t rely on the private sector.
“If we are going to be a top destination in doing business it’s not the private sector that has to up its game, but government.”
Wesgro CEO Nils Flaaten said the opening of Tellumat was one of the most significant investment trade by an unlisted company in 2012.
“Many South Africans would believe we can’t make global TV’s brands; this is proof that we can. It’s a great export opportunity for Western Cape and South Africa into the Southern African Developing Community,” he said. – Peter Luhanga