$10m gumboot factory for Bulawayo

A SOUTH Africa-based manufacturing company has put in place plans to set up a gumboot factory in Bulawayo with an initial investment of R150 million ($10,7 million), an official said.hqdefault

Shosholoza Gumboots managing director Mr George Moyo revealed the company’s plans to launch next year in February saying initial work was already in place with the support of the South African Embassy in Zimbabwe.

Shosholoza Gumboots were first introduced to South Africa’s mining industry and are according to the company suitable for both mining and construction conditions as they have international specification steel toe caps which protect toes from injury when heavy objects pose a risk, an extra thick ankle padding, ankle cup and support with a luminous reflector for visual safety in low light environments.

“We have been supplying the whole southern Africa region as well as Australia and New Zealand. We have also been distributing the gumboots in Zimbabwe but we have decided to set up a manufacturing plant in Bulawayo,” said Mr Moyo.

Mr Moyo whose family is originally from Plumtree said he had great interest in the country and was encouraged by President Mugabe to form the SA-Zim Business Connection some years back when they met in SA. He is the outgoing president of the association that spearheads business engagements between the two countries.

“My business interests in Zimbabwe are personal as my father was born in Plumtree hence participating in the country’s economic development through investment is also personal,” said Mr Moyo.

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Speaking on the R150 million investment in Bulawayo, Mr Moyo said the city had proper infrastructure like factories in place and the cost of doing business is very low.

He said Bulawayo, once the country’s industrial hub, had the potential to regain its former glory with capital injection.

“There is high unemployment in Zimbabwe which makes labour costs competitive compared to other areas in the country; Bulawayo is the ideal investment destination as it has factories and a lot of land. There are incentives for investing in the city,” he said.

According to Mr Moyo, the project will create at least 100 jobs during the initial set up in February. Mr Moyo said Zimbabwe presented a number of opportunities for South African investors looking to expand their operations and interests. He said despite negative reports about the country, businesspeople have the ability to discern a potential high risk to an opportunity and South Africa was confident that Zimbabwe will again regain its economic stability.

“This country has some of the most intelligent people in the region so the human capital is one of its strongholds. Of course there are energy challenges which we have to consider as huge capital investments require a substantial amount of electricity,” he said.

Mr Moyo was in the country recently with a consortium of 40 South African business people who met with local businesses and identified areas they want to invest in with mining and leather manufacturing being the main projects.

Meanwhile, South Africa-based Big Time Strategic Consultants recently acquired a 49 percent stake in a local Information Technology (IT) company.

Group chief executive officer Mr Justice Maphosa who could not reveal more details as a disclosure agreement was signed with the company confirmed the development.

“We will unveil the agreements in due course but I can confirm that we acquired stake in a technology-based company and we are looking to enhance technology in Zimbabwe. We are working with the Zimbabwe Investment Authority to finalise the legalities,” said Mr Maphosa.

He said this investment was important because it showed that black people are doing it for themselves in the region and spearheading development and economic growth.

“When we launch the project, we want to launch a live project where the technology has been tested hence we are currently perfecting the technologies and ensuring that they work in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Maphosa.

Investments into the country by the diaspora community have been increasing as last month part of the Zimbabwean Diaspora Network in North America invested about $1 million in the development of an upmarket townhouse project in Bulawayo.

Head of the Zimbabwean Diaspora Network in North America Mr Pedzi Makumbe revealed that 60 percent of people in the diaspora are willing to make investments at home.-Sundaynews