19 Jun Determination helps two Black Industrialists’ dream come true
Bukabopa is a tale of entrepreneurial perseverance and black industrialist success. The company is one of a few black owned engineering factories that manufacture steel components used to build locomotives and buses. Established in 2013 by a black industrialist couple, Director Palello Lebaka and Manager Busi Lebaka, the engineering company uses raw materials to manufacture and process steel structures used to assemble large automotives.
The company currently manufactures components for MAN, a well-known global truck and bus company. The company has five factory departments and employs a combined 164 employees. The workforce comprises of steel technicians, engineers, welders, artisans and cleaners. The factory only started operating optimally last year, but due to the high demand of the five clients they have, workers start their shifts at 07:30 and finish at 17:00.
“We are just barely a year into full operations, because most of the work only started after IDC provided us with funding in 2018,” said Palello Lebaka. With 24 years’ experience in the rail engineering management, Lebaka said the knowledge he has of the sector was vital in the success of the business.
The R39 million IDC funding helped the company to purchase the facility and land where it currently operates, from previous owners who were going out of business. “In addition, the IDC funding helped us to kick-start our operation and have our machinery working,” Lebaka said. The business is situated on a 212 hectare land in Bapsfontein, outside Benoni. “Currently the factory is only occupying 40 hectares of that space, the rest of the space has been rented out to farming businesses in order to help us create an additional income stream,” he said.
The business owners say their vision is to turn Bukabopa Holdings to be a leading global supplier in rail and automotive components. “We would not be here if it was not for IDC funding,” said Busi Lebaka, “The funding came right at the critical time in the life of the business. We were able to purchase this factory just in time, and service the five clients we had immediately,” she added. Bukabopa Holdings has been accredited by Volkswagen Global, as the trusted manufacturer. The company also supplies components to transport company IVECO.