• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

R3.5m factory built, unused and indebted

A R3.5million factory to manufacture diapers and sanitary pads has been standing empty for six years in the Qingqamntwana community in Keiskammahoek. Built in 2013, the project was a brainchild of Mzwandile Sigwabe, a community member who saw an opportunity for community development.

The state of the factory has caused growing frustration among community members who have been waiting for a chance to be employed. The project was approved by the Department of Social Development and they injected millions to get the project off the ground. The first cost went to building a two-roomed flat which was later extended into a bigger sized factory, which is not yet complete for production.

Over two million was used to purchase machinery from a Cape Town based company. However, the raw material is yet to be delivered because the factory is incomplete. Electricity was installed at the factory in 2017 as one of the leading delays in the project.

According to Lindiwe Nkonki, Project Manager from the Department of Social Development the project has run out of funds to complete the factory. “From the money that was injected in the project, we are left with R5 000. The electricity poles that were installed by Eskom have left the project in debt, as it stands the project owes R9 000 in electricity bill and the debt is increasing per day,” she detailed.

The factory suffered damages when the machinery was being installed, ripping the floor apart and hindering any operations that could have commenced. Project managers are trying to source more funding to assist with the flooring at the factory.

The Councillor for Ward 3, Mlungiseleli Ngcofe failed to give us concrete information regarding the project. According to him, “I only learnt about the project in 2016 and as far as I know nothing much was done after that”.

Sigwabe said the councillor never showed interest in their project, despite their efforts to garner support from him to bring the project to life. “I am disappointed to see the project not operating as we had hoped that it would bring us jobs and get many young people of this village away from a life of crime and drugs,” said Sibusiso Nzibongwana, Gwili-gwili resident.


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