Free State’s first black chemicals manufacturer helps create jobs

Kevali Chemicals Executive Director Funeka Khumalo.

A local chemical manufacturing company is helping to fight unemployment by creating about seventy sustainable jobs in Harrismith in the Free State.

Kevali Chemicals is the first Free State black owned chemicals manufacturer of a range of water treatment chemicals, hygiene and sanitation solutions as well as adhesives.

The company was founded in 2014 by five friends who have expertise in chemicals, fast-moving consumer goods, product development, and adhesives industries.

“We all had many years of working experience and skills in different industries and thought we should come together and started this company,” said Khumalo.

company,” said Khumalo.

“In the beginning, we had to inject money to get the business off the ground but ultimately we received funding from the Department of Trade and Industry (The dti) through the Black Industrialist Scheme (BIS) as well as the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC),” she added.

The Black Industrialist Scheme supported Kevali Chemicals to acquire machinery and equipment to commence the new manufacturing and production line for water treatment, cleaning and disinfecting as well as adhesives.

The Scheme is a grant programme of the Black Industrialists Policy that aims to unlock the potential within black industrialists operating in South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.

Khumalo said it took about R18 million to get the business off the ground and about 11 months to start making profit.

“It was not easy to keep the business running. But we had a goal,” said Khumalo.

Today, the company has created about 70 jobs in Harrismith, from technicians and engineers to general workers and security guards.