Rising out of the dross

The content in this issue of Castings SA is very rewarding for many reasons, I believe. As business people and individuals too often we get swept up in the negativity that surrounds us in our daily lives. I can’t deny that there is plenty of daily news that would make most of us weep, especially if you live in a country like South Africa that is experiencing political turmoil, citizen unrest and economic struggles.

Political turmoil is not unique to South Africa though and will never be, as is citizen unrest. There will always be those that feel unjustly treated and will want to express it in some form or another. The world has always experienced economic crisis so this is also not a new experience – it is just the level of economic crisis that a country gets itself into that differs.

Today our access to all this information has been accelerated with the advent of the internet, social media and more. The accent on ‘negativity sells the stories’ and sensationalism continues to remain uppermost on most news organisations agendas. Many more individuals who own a device and can immediately use it to express their opinion or foster their ulterior motive, often do so.

However, fortunately there are many of us that stay positive and in this issue there are a number of stories that are refreshing and encouraging. Ukuthela Foundry Projects, based out in the Babelegi Industrial area, has found their niche in the way it moves its moulds and castings around the foundry – by forklift. I have never seen this before but it works for them and I was witness to this. And they are producing 60 tons of castings a month.

Then there is the story on Duvha Foundry. In the Venda dialect Duvha means the sun that rises and shines and this foundry has certainly risen out of the dross in the face of adversity. Imagine trying to live your dream and the very institutions that are supposed to help you put up all the obstacles. Through sheer hard work and implementing the good old principles of how to run a business Duvha Foundry has been able to boast that they now cast 120 tons of castings a month. And they are quite happy to admit that their BB-BEE status did help to get them business but now with the new rules they are not going to enjoy these privileges going forward.

The third foundry I report on in this issue is Steel Best Automotive/Pressure Castings. The previous owners let a very successful business slide into business rescue through gross mismanagement. This aluminium foundry introduced a state-of-the-art aluminium die casting and machining cell six years ago, which would not be out of place in any European or Japanese foundry. The fact that the new owners saw the potential and have now started investing in the foundry should not go un-noticed. Management reports that they are producing 60 tons of castings a month – that is no small number for a pressure die casting foundry.

Another story in this issue is on MIS Engineering t/a Mitak. This is a first for me – as are the stories on Ukuthela Foundry Projects and Duvha Foundry. Another positive story and although I have never been into the foundry – I hate to admit this – I believe it is a foundry that the South African industry can be proud of. (Just to explain: You can often do stories remotely as long as you get the facts correct.) The very fact that Mitak is ‘loosening’ up and letting the world know that there is a very real problem with Chinese imports is encouraging and adding weight to what many other foundries in South Africa are experiencing.

To me the overriding factor is that these foundries have risen out of the dross and are making business happen in the face of all the doom and gloom around us.