Limpopo’s newest hot-mix asphalt manufacturing company has opened its doors. The 100% black-owned Maloka Machaba Surfacing (MM Surfacing) also offers road surfacing and logistics services.
MM Surfacing co-owner and technical director Kate Machaba says the dream of owning and running her own asphalt company followed a mere 24 months after she qualified and started working in the civil engineering space.
Matshela Maloka is her business partner and co-owner at MM Surfacing. Both entrepreneurs are 32 years old. Machaba graduated from the University of Johannesburg and Maloka from the Central University of Technology.
“After almost eight years of research, we officially started the process of starting up our company in 2016, with our application for funding being approved by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC),” explains Machaba.
“The process to get the required operating licences took another 24 months, resulting in us finally fully commissioning our plant at the end of October last year.”
MM Surfacing was funded through the IDC’s Gro-E Youth Scheme, aimed at entrepreneurs younger than 36.
Machaba says waiting two years to get the company’s operating licences approved by the local and provincial authorities proved by far the most challenging part of setting up MM Surfacing.
Looking ahead, she says MM Surfacing aims to expand its product offering and geographic reach.
Most of MM Surfacing’s client base currently resides in Limpopo and the surrounding provinces.
“We are looking at making inroads into the rest of Africa,” says Machaba.
“Using our technologically advanced plant and our logistics company we also want to export our products to the rest of the continent.”
Diversification may prove a prudent strategy as the South African road-building industry faces a number of challenges, including tight government budgets and a shortage of projects.
Machaba believes, however, that government has indeed both a budget and road map for infrastructure development in South Africa, but that improvements can be made in implementing these projects in a timeous fashion.
In 2015 there was 21 888 km of road in Limpopo, for example, with only 35% of this infrastructure surfaced.
“There’s still a huge opportunity in addressing backlogs in the maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrading of road infrastructure,” she says.
Machaba adds that MM Surfacing could also benefit from the transformation strategy currently being rolled out at the South African National Roads Agency.
MM Surfacing currently employs 28 people.