Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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TUB a shining example of black female industrialism

That uBeke Manufacturing.Thata uBeke Manufacturing (TUB) has dispelled the myth that black, female industrialists do not exist, says its CEO Nana Sabelo.

The company is 100% black, female owned and specialises in electronic and electrical system design and manufacture with a focus on the defence, automotive, rail, industrial, energy, security and mining sectors. Situated in Boksburg, TUB has four divisions: electronics, electro-mechanical, research and development, and quality assurance.

Its defence experience includes working with DCD Protected Mobility by designing, developing and supplying CAN-based and analogue electrical systems and the IED/Landmine detection system fitted on the Husky 2G, Mountain Lion and Springbuck armoured vehicles; designing and developing electrical systems for Paramount Land Systems vehicles; and designing, manufacturing and supplying electrical system for the Mamba MK7 and Denel Vehicle Systems N35 vehicles. TUB also recently completed the electrical design, manufacture and supply of NIMR HAFEET class military ambulances.

TUB has worked with Denel Dynamics on the A-Darter air-to-air missile and successfully industrialised the missile backbone and bulkhead PCBs (printed circuit boards). Other projects include a GPS system with Cobham; supplying printed circuit board assemblies for Reutech tactical radios; and on the commercial side supplying printed circuit board assemblies for De Beers diamond sorters.

Sabelo, speaking at the recent Aerospace, Maritime and Defence conference held at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, said that, “we are here to dispel the myth that it can’t be done; that black industrialists don’t exist. We are here to say regardless of what is going on in the country politically things can be done and with willpower we can achieve much more.”

Sabelo noted that several years ago, before she took it over, TUB was in business rescue and had a handful of clients, with a “lousy” R4 million order book, but the business was turned around and subsequently won the Gauteng premier special award and inaugural Black Industrialist Award from the Department of Trade and Industry.

TUB currently works with local companies like Denel and Reutech, with the majority of its production (70%) going to local business. For instance, it continues working with DCD Protected Mobility, and is looking at second generation landmine detection vehicles. In partnership with the Denel Technical Academy and Denel Aviation, TUB hosted 60 Denel interns on a two year rotation programme, of which 30 were from Cameroon and 30 from South Africa. The Cameroonians recently completed their training.

TUB’s products have been exported to Singapore (power distribution module) and the United Arab Emirates (in partnership with NIMR). Components (computer boxes and electrical systems) were supplied for some 45 armoured ambulances currently deployed by the UAE to Yemen.

On the security side, TUB was instrumental in the development of the BIMS (Biometric Identity Management System) on behalf of Ideco and Hewlett Packard. BIMS is an all-in-one multifunctional mobile unit which has the ability to read fingerprints, palm vein, iris and voice recognition.

In spite of its successes, Sabelo highlighted some challenges facing TUB, including difficulty in retaining skilled workers, black executives functioning as gatekeepers, and companies wanting discounts “because you’re going to make too much money as a black person.” Sabelo said that because companies are rewarded for doing business with SMMEs, as soon as SMMEs get too large they are not attractive and struggle to get business.
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