A consortium led by Sekunjalo Investments has been awarded a five-year contract worth an estimated R1 billion by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in a deal expected to accelerate broad-based participation in Cape Town’s maritime industry.
Under the deal, the consortium, which includes Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings and ship-building company KND, will conduct technical maintenance, infrastructure and personnel support to eight state-owned research and patrol vessels including the Algoa, the Ellen Khuzwayo and the Sarah Baartman for a five-year period.
Sekunjalo CEO Khalid Abdulla says the contract will significantly improve the group’s profitability and cash flow.
In addition, Sekunjalo’s Chairman Dr Iqbal Survé says the deal will accelerate much-needed enterprise development and skills transfer in technical areas of the maritime industry, where barriers to entry have previously been high. “Our goal is to provide as many job opportunities through this deal as possible.”
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson says the contract is the first of its kind awarded to a black-owned company. “I am confident that Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings has the requisite skills and capabilities to fulfill this contract based on its fleet management experience and its experience in managing maintenance projects on international vessels.”
Abdulla, says Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings is one of the few black-owned companies on the continent with the requisite technical and engineering expertise to manage a contract of this magnitude. Today, Sekunjalo not only manages technical maintenance of its own fleet, but conducts maintenance and provides technical services to vessels from around the world.
Abdulla says acquiring technical expertise and getting the right people in the maritime maintenance is no mean feat. “We will not only provide technical support and expertise, but also financing to smaller businesses. We have a moral obligation to promote enterprise development in this industry.”
According to Abdulla, Sekunjalo will outsource a material portion of the deal to smaller businesses. He says this is perfectly aligned with Sekunjalo’s ethos to promote broad-based participation in the sectors of the economy that has been inaccessible to previously disadvantaged individuals. “This is central to Sekunjalo’s business philosophy which promotes job creation and the transfer of skills.
Survé says “This is central to Sekunjalo’s business philosophy which favours labour-intensive industries that not only promotes employment, but also provides sustainable job opportunities.”
Minister Joemat-Pettersson says she applauds Sekunjalo’s attempt to open up the sector to SMMEs. “Not only will many Black SMME’s benefit from this deal, it will also accelerate sustainable broad-based participation in the maritime industry, which can create many job opportunities.”
Survé urges all companies involved in the maritime sector, individuals with technical expertise and engineers who have not necessarily been involved in the maritime industry, to contact Sekunjalo.
While Sekunjalo is in the process of developing a database of suppliers, the company is finalising a service level agreement with the Department.