AfriSam stands ready to serve after 90-years

Richard Tomes, AfriSam Sales & Marketing Executive

AfriSam has introduced a cost effective readymix product, Starmix

AfriSam provides support to emerging and small builders through training and knowledge sharing

AfriSam is proudly celebrating a 90-year legacy

20th June 2024


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Started in 1934 as only the second cement manufacturer in South Africa, AfriSam has built a 90‑year legacy of quality and expertise that ranks with the world’s best.

According to Richard Tomes, Sales & Marketing Executive at AfriSam, this success is driven as much by its technical performance and service, as by remaining relevant and true to the communities it serves. Tomes highlights the leading role taken by AfriSam in driving product quality alongside rising sustainability concerns to reduce carbon emissions. At the same time, the company plays a broader role in strengthening livelihoods and cohesion in the economies and communities in which it operates.

AfriSam’s 90 years began as Anglovaal Portland Cement Company, diversifying early into readymix concrete and aggregate production as Anglo Alpha. Its more recent history saw the business acquired by the global leader in cement, Holcim, before returning to local ownership. He points to the world class skills and infrastructure within the business, an example of which was its Ulco cement factory being ranked as third-best performer in the Holcim group during its time in that stable.

“To reach 90 years old in a sector like construction really demands a constant commitment to being ahead of the game, and to delivering leading edge solutions at the highest level,” he says. This allowed AfriSam to play a central role over the years in iconic structures from Johannesburg’s 50-storey Carlton Centre in the 1970s to the Gautrain in the lead up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The company is today arguably the most trusted name in South Africa’s readymix industry, having retained and enhanced its institutional skills base in concrete technology. This has been vital for the beleaguered local construction sector, where the right-sizing of most large contractors has left them with fewer in-house resources on this front.

“Our many years in business has taught us more about our broader responsibility, where we are also proud to play an active role as a responsible corporate citizen,” he says. “This ranges from our leading efforts in making cement production more sustainable, to supporting initiatives that build communities and promote social cohesion.”

AfriSam was the first cement manufacturer to launch a ‘green’ cement, through the scientific addition of cementitious extenders to reduce the content of energy-intensive clinker – while not compromising quality or performance. Through its continuous investment in research and development, it has taken South Africa to the forefront of cement technology related to the use of ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) and pulverised fly ash as extenders.

Returning to AfriSam’s positive local economic impact over the decades, Tomes highlights the key role played by its cement, concrete and aggregate experts in building the country’s infrastructure to its current levels.

“Irrespective of economic cycles and other disruptions, we consider it essential to maintain and sharpen our expertise and industrial capacity in service of Africa’s development,” he explains. “Even if economies stagnate for long periods, they can recover if there is a core of critical skills to build the necessary infrastructure.”

In this way, he says, AfriSam is creating the opportunities for communities to build livelihoods, especially in an environment where housing shortages are common. Alongside its leading edge technology, for instance, is its quality Starmix readymix solution – a cost effective product suited for the residential builder, which can be ordered in small quantities.

“We recognise the value of sport in improving lives and attitudes, so have over the years partnered with teams from Orlando Pirates to the Springboks,” says Tomes. “Youth entrepreneurship is another important focus for us, to inspire and empower future generations.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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