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SA cement producer invests in the people

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South African cement producer PPC has donated six brick making machines to local SMMEs in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Image credit: PPC

One of South Africa’s oldest cement companies’ decision to invest in the local production of bricks is an example of how to empower communities and drive the economy. The production of quality bricks will be key in South Africa’s construction industry.       

In business for more than 128 years, PPC recently donated six brick-making and paving machines to local small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME’s) in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga collectively valued at R1.8-million. According to Njombo Lekula, managing director at RSA Cement, these machines will play an integral role in the production of 100% locally produced bricks.

Lekula says that PPC’s has learnt a few lessons from operating in South Africa over the past 128 years. Despite challenges, the company remains optimistic about the opportunities that exist in the sector. “The business’ decision to make this investment into SMME’s, as part of our enterprise supplier development (ESD) fund during a post-pandemic environment, has proven to be an example of PPC’s ongoing investment in the community,” says Lekula.

“The global pandemic has challenged us to add sustainable value and convenience to the SMME sector. We understand that the challenge for local entrepreneurs is to remain competitive while ensuring they put into practice the education on producing quality bricks, we have provided over the past few years. Each brick making and paving machine provided will serve as a visual representation of our commitment to provide a better quality of life so they can take advantage of the niche opportunities available to them,” says Lekula.

This sponsorship comes at a time when South Africa’s SMMEs are facing unprecedented challenges. “Receiving the machine means a lot to my business as this will assist in growing the business, creating more employment and most importantly being competitive. We appreciate PPC for choosing us as one of their enterprise development beneficiaries and giving us the courage to continue improving and building our township/local economy. I see these machines as being a tool that will leave me in a position to strengthen what they have been teaching me for so long,” says Rachel Msiza, founder of Style Africa Paving and Cladding in Soshanguve the north of Pretoria.

Forming part of PPC’s commitment to go beyond, efforts to improve access to the market with each brick making and paving machine increases the capacity to grow the business. PPC’s long-standing relationship with the SMME’s in the community has resulted in the identification of individuals who would be best placed to grow their local township economy.

Highlighting the long-term business impact of the machinery JX115 Trading’s, founder, Joel Msipha, says: “The machinery will help us with our business’s economic structure, growing the business and increasing employment in our communities; as we do our part in assisting in closing the unemployment gap.”

As a trusted partner of business and communities, PPC understands the challenges and needs for local entrepreneurship that is often seen through the ambitions of brick makers. More than 1000 brick makers from across South Africa have benefited from PPC’s brick-making workshops. PPC’s efforts to upskill each brick maker continue to provide them with the critical education, skills and technical knowledge required to support, grow and manage their businesses effectively in this changing economy.


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