A newly built R100-million fibre-optic production facility in Waltloo, Tshwane, will manufacture optical fibre, optical-fibre cabling and speciality phototonic solutions for the telecommunications industry in Africa, says telecommunications specialist distributor Dartcom Fibre Solutions chairperson Khudusela Pitje.
The 5 000 m2 facility will provide 90 permanent jobs for the people of the neighbouring Mamelodi and Eersterust townships. The factory is undergoing final commissioning and product qualification, and will open its doors in February 2018. Currently, 65 people are employed during this first phase on three daily shifts from Monday to Friday.
The factory will produce drop cable, microcable, heavy-duty duct cable, all-dielectric self-supporting cable and E-glass layered cable. It has equipment for fibre colouring and ringmarking, a buffer tube production line, an SZ stranding line and a dual-jacket line to produce complete cables, as well as a laboratory to certify the products according to various standards, says Pitje.
Dartcom Fibre Solutions, a subsidiary of New GX Industrial Holdings under Dartcom South Africa, partnered with optical telecommunications multinational Optical Fibre Solutions (OFS) to build and launch the factory. The factory will have a fibre capacity of 750-million metres a year and cabling capacity of 13-million metres a year.
OFS boasts global experience and telecommunication technologies that contribute to the development of next-generation communication networks that its clients demand, explains Pitje.
The locally owned facility will produce OFS products in South Africa made by local people, and has the potential for the development of black industrialists, he highlights.
“Dartcom Fibre Solutions supports the communities in which it operates and, in collaboration with OFS, we will provide skills development programmes to benefit and improve the lives of historically disadvantaged communities,” he adds.
The venture, funded by financial services firm FNB and Dartcom local and international shareholders, signals Dartcom’s commitment to South Africa and the African continent.
Further, the New GX Group donated 60 computers and Internet connectivity to the Meetseng Primary School, in Soshanguve. Principal Helen Lesolang states that the donation has improved the standard of learning for the children and helps to expose them to the role of technology.
“The HM Pitje Foundation [in honour of Pitje’s late father, who was a Mamelodi mayor known for his community work], will also work with the New GX group of companies to uplift selected schools in Mamelodi and Soshanguve,” concludes Pitje.