John Nkadimeng, founder of Fence It, can today look back with pride at the business that he has built up from scratch since it was founded in 2004. “I am now a fully-fledged manufacturer of fence, steel gates and posts,” he says.
This has not come without its share of challenges, but Fence It supplies major clients across the country from its base of operations in Witbank, Mpumalanga.
It started out as a supplier of ready-made fences that it procured and then installed for customers.
But back in 2008, Nkadimeng applied for MCEP funding once he’d completed his research on how to maximise production so he could manufacture his own products.
His application was successful, and he used the funding to buy fence-making machines from China. Equipped with this new machinery, Fence It has since been able to make diamond mesh, field fence, welded mesh, barbed wire and razor wire.
Nkadimeng says production has shot up and the company now produces enough to supply to a wider market.
The investment in new machinery was followed quickly thereafter in new jobs that took the permanent staff numbers to 32 people, and 68 when casual labourers are added.
The broader product range and manufacturing capacity has helped Fence It to grow its client base to include the likes of BHP Billiton, Transnet Rail, Eskom, and the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture and Land Reform. Nkadimeng is also ‘strategic partner’ for this department, developing cooperatives such as those in Thembisile Hani and Dr Pixley Ka Seme local municipalities.
“I have quite a number of projects now due to the success of this fund. I think if they can extend this hand they have given me to others, this country will solve the poverty situation that is out there ripping our land apart so badly. I am proud of the IDC and I keep talking about the IDC wherever I go.”
Growing young talent is Nkadimeng’s passion.
“I am teaching a group of youngsters who want to get into business how to manufacture and install fences. That fulfils what I want to achieve – to see businesses growing, to see the young people starting up businesses and moving on with their lives.”
In the meantime he is focused on continuing to grow his business, and received assistance from dtic in the period before COVID-19 to travel to China, India and Zimbabwe to exhibit his products.
“I was forming a relationship with Indian clients before Covid-19, and I hope to continue with that next year,” he said.