South Africa has not been able to manufacture enough electronics products but has relied on imported tablets, cell phones and all kinds of electronic equipment, Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies said on Tuesday.
"What we are witnessing today [Tuesday], is a company that is getting into this space which is very important as we prepare ourselves for the 4th Industrial Revolution," he said at the launch of the billion rand Yekani Information and Communication Technology (ICT) electronics and manufacturing factory in the East London Special Economic Zone (ELIDZ).
"This is an example of what we can do if we put our minds to it. So I think this an investment to celebrate at a number of levels in an industry that is of strategic importance and key to job creation."
Yekani is a beneficiary of the Black Industrialists Programme and the Special Economic Zone Fund.
Davies said the the department of trade and industry (DTI) provided R350-million for the construction of the company’s infrastructure through the Special Economic Zones Fund and a R50 million grant under the Black Industrialists Programme for the machinery.
The DTI would in future convene all Black Industrialists beneficiaries that have received financial and non-financial support to discuss pertinent issues on how the department can improve on their incentives grants and also on taking other beneficiaries to the next level, he said.
Group Chief Executive Office of Yekani, Dr Siphiwe Cele said the new facilities would allow Yekani to lead the way in technology innovation and to help Africa secure its rightful place among global technology leaders.
"We believe that this new home will allow us to showcase our capability, flexibility, expertise and quality as well as contribution to the development of the manufacturing industry, not only in the country but also in the African continent," said Cele.
He added that the company wanted the world to know that Africans were capable of pioneering new technology and also nurturing young people.
Yekani Manufacturing is a 100 percent Black-owned ICT electronics and manufacturing company that currently manufactures Explora HD decoders, TEAC television sets, Set-Top-boxes and tablets.
The company will be able to employ 1 000 more people as a result of the expansion.
The Black Industrialists Scheme is a grant programme of the Black Industrialists Policy that aims to unlock the potential within black industrialists operating in the South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.
The Black Industrialists Scheme was announced in 2016 and by that time government targeted to supporting 100 Black Industrialists by the end of the 2018/19 financial year. However, by end of March this year the target had been exceeded as 102 Black Industrialists had been approved for financial support and 48 companies received market access support.