Dr Robert Nkuna – Director-General at Department of Monitoring and Evaluation within the Presidency, Mervyn Naidoo – CEO at Actom, and Uncel Mhelembe, CEO of SAIMechE.

SAIMechE CEO, Uncel Mhlemebe, recently attended a morning breakfast to commemorate electro-mechanical manufacturing company, Actom’s 120th anniversary. Since its inception in 1903, the company has become a major supplier of electrical equipment and services to a wide range of industries, including energy, mining and utilities. 

“This event was a celebration of a legacy company that is over a century old, and the fact that we have managed to navigate multiple industrial revolutions, technology changes, a pandemic, economic cycles, and survive by way of reinventing the company, is testimony to our strength. This event aimed to celebrate what we’ve achieved, as well as the people who have been involved in helping us reach this achievement,” says Mervyn Naidoo, Group CEO at Actom.

Full spectrum

Adds Mamiki Matlawa, Business Development Executive at Actom, “We’ve been able to adapt by building an end-to-end company in terms of electro-mechanical equipment where we manufacture, repair, and replace – meeting our customers’ full spectrum of needs.”

Actom’s plans in terms of sustainability and innovation include its recently-opened factory in Kenya, which is being positioned as the company’s manufacturing hub in East Africa, a region with a population of more than 300 million. “If our base in Nairobi allows us to tap into that market, we will be looking at similar plans for West Africa,” she explains.

More can be done

Mamiki believes that there is an opportunity for government to do more in terms of supporting the manufacturing sector, especially from a localisation perspective, which would be a boost for manufacturers of local products and equipment.” It is crucial that we use local infrastructure spend and demand as a means of revitalising manufacturing in South Africa and create desperately-needed jobs, which will ultimately trigger GDP growth.” 

She adds that Actom has plans to grow in the renewable energy space where there are opportunities for the company to venture into partnerships with engineering, procurement, and construction firms, or to become the preferred original equipment manufacturer for the energy projects.

“Actom is ready to engage in the changing world and we are specifically awaiting the final implementation of the Africa Free Trade Agreement. We are excited about this and our investment in Kenya is pre-empting this move,” Mamiki concludes.


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