Sekunjalo Investment, which is regarded as South Africa’s second most black empowered company, has been awarded a five year contract worth about R800 million by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The consortium awarded the contract includes Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings as well as ship building company KND, Ports and Ships (www.ports.co.za) reports. It will conduct technical maintenance, infrastructure and personnel support to eight state-owned research and patrol vessels including the Algoa, the Ellen Khuzwayo and the Sarah Baartman for a five-year period.
“The deal will accelerate much-needed enterprise development and skills transfer in technical areas of the maritime industry, where barriers to entry have previously been high,” said Sekunjalo chairman Iqbal Survé. “Our goal is to provide as many job opportunities through this deal as possible.”
Sekunjalo CEO Khalid Abdulla said the contract is a significant business deal for Sekunjalo which will create value for the group’s current business operations and would significantly improve the group’s profitability and cash flow through subsidiary Sekunjalo Industrial. He said the unit was one of the only black-owned companies in Africa with the technical and engineering expertise to manage a contract of this magnitude.
“Today, Sekunjalo not only manages technical maintenance of its own fleet, but conducts maintenance and provides technical services to vessels from around the world,” he said. The deal is expected to accelerate broad-based participation in Cape Town’s concentrated maritime industry.
According to the minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the contract is the first of its kind awarded to a black-owned company. Black-owned firms have traditionally shied away from technical areas of South Africa’s maritime sector, she said.
“I am confident that Sekunjalo Industrial Holdings has the requisite skills and capabilities to fulfill this contract, based on its fleet management experience and its experience in managing maintenance projects on international vessels.”
Sekunjalo received criticism from some of its shareholders earlier this month after it announced it would sue two former executives it said were responsible for losses amounting to R65 million. These related to a major subsidiary company, Premier Fishing, which provides about 50% of the group’s revenue.
The action was brought in the Western Cape High Court in June this year against former Premier Fishing CEO Kevin Patel and another unnamed former group director, for damages it said were suffered due to alleged breaches of contract and the closing of a plant at Saldanha. Patel decried the allegations as a publicity stunt by Sekunjalo.
Sekunjalo, a JSE listed company, was founded as a means of providing former African National Congress freedom fighters with retirement funding. The company has since been tarnished with claims that it was bailed out by murdered mining tycoon Brett Kebble, who was facing the likelihood of fraud charges at the time of his apparent assisted suicide.