In an effort to drive sustainable township entrepreneurship, Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd (SRSA) manufacturer of the iconic Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken Tyre brands has partnered with the KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (KZN EDTEA) and iThala Development Finance Corporation in KwaZulu-Natal.
The partnership will see a minimum of 25 containerised tyre fitment operations established across KZN, creating employment for approximately 100 youth, women and enterprising entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the official launch of Isaac’s Tyres, the newest Dunlop Container business situated in the Gamalakhe Township on the KZN South Coast on Thursday, 25 April 2019, KZN EDTEA MEC, Mr Sihle Zikalala said: “We want to thank Sumitomo Rubber for lending a hand in the fight that the government is leading against unemployment and especially the unemployment of our youth. Unemployment statistics currently sit at around 27% with close to 75% of that being young people in rural areas and in the townships. We recognise that we cannot grow the economy without the private sector, and we thank SRSA for investing in our province.”
The Dunlop Container project was established in 2013 to drive sustainable township entrepreneurship and promote safety on the road using a model that has been tried and tested. Through the programme selected informal tyre businesses trading out of shipping containers are transformed into Dunlop branded tyre fitment centres. Technical tyre training and mentorship is provided by Sumitomo Rubber, ensuring business sustainability and serving to counter the growing number of illegal and dangerous second-hand tyres being sold to consumers.
“SRSA and the Dunlop Brand have a proud legacy of supporting economic growth, upliftment and development in South Africa,” said Riaz Haffejee, CEO SRSA. “We were the first local tyre manufacturer in the country to partner with rural and township areas to encourage community development in the tyre fitment enterprise. We believe that it is through initiatives such as this that we will see a reduction in the unemployment rates in our communities, in KZN – and in South Africa as a whole.”
There are currently over 122 Dunlop containers across South Africa’s nine provinces and to date the partnership with KZN EDTEA and iThala has resulted in six container businesses being awarded in KZN – in Port Shepstone, Estcourt, Ladysmith, Madadeni, Esikhaleni and Eshowe.
“We are proud to be playing a part in building sustainable businesses in the townships and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate KZN EDTEA and iThala on its sustained efforts to stimulate and strengthen economic development within the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We look forward to our continued partnership,” said Haffejee.
The Dunlop Container Fitment Centre programme forms part of the KZN Revitalisation of Township and Rural Economies policy framework spearheaded by the Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and iThala Development Finance Corporation in KwaZulu-Natal.