Situated in the heart of the hustle and bustle that is the Phoenix industrial area north of Durban, Shesha Engineering is growing as fast as its name implies. ‘Shesha’ means ‘quick or fast’ in isiZulu, says Kruben Pillay, who, with Mickey Duleep founded the business, which makes and installs steel products.
The company started out as “two guys and a bakkie” in 2000, specialising in steel shop-fitting components; one of its early successes was to manufacture and install the mezzanine floors in the Gateway mall in Umhlanga.
But today Shesha employs around 130 staff, and also does steel reinforcing; mild, stainless and structural steel fabrication, erection and installation; as well as aluminium and glass windows.
Their big break came in 2009 when Shesha landed a contract to provide steel balustrading at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. This led to more work on the stadium, as well as on housing developments on the nearby Umhlanga Ridge.
And now, as development spreads north and south of King Shaka International Airport, Pillay and Duleep are preparing for more hard work and well-earned rewards ahead.
“Development is going up so fast in this area,” he says. “Soon it will be one big city all the way from Umdloti to Durban.”
A project to supply and install 2,000 tons of structural steel at Island View in Durban port put Shesha on the map, he says. “It won an award as the most successful Transnet contract in 2013/14.”
Pillay prides himself on his ability to think ahead, and the company ensures it always has qualified staff by pouring resources into training welders, boilermakers and fabricators. Many of them go on to work at large companies around the country.
It also prompted him to approach the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for funding so they could “reach higher standards and uplift the business”.
Pillay says a loan from the IDC, received in 2014, was used to buy state-of-the-art machinery from Italy, which enabled the company to employ more people. It has since supplied components to Transnet, and bagged a contract to work on the revitalisation of the Doctor Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital near KwaMashu.
The loan also enabled them to increase their number of employees. “We intend to take Shesha to the highest level of engineering,” says Pillay.
The company has also received MCEP funding to invest in new machinery that would enable it to keep up with the latest global technology and bring it to South Africa.”
Pillay is keen to help grow manufacturing in South Africa, and believes much of the machinery and products that are imported could be made locally. He plans to buy more machinery, buy land and set up a training school for the industry as a whole.
“The legacy you build and leave behind is what it’s really all about,” he concludes.