Set-Top-Box Manufacturing At Dube TradePort

07 April 2014

The National Association of Manufactures in Electronic Components (NAMEC), in partnership with one of China’s largest manufacturer of Set Top boxes, is set to launch Africa’s preeminent Set-Top-Box (decoder) manufacturing facilities at Dube TradePort in a multi-million Rand investment deal.

Namec Technologies is the first Black-owned and managed ICT manufacturing company in Africa, according to the company's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Vijay Panday, who added that it had plans in place to export its Set-Top-Boxes to the rest of Africa from the Dube TradeZone-based facility. The estimated market size exceeds 100 million devices as the world gears-up for migration from analogue to digital, with transition effective June 2015.

Commenting on the new manufacturing facility, Panday said: “We are creating in excess of 250 jobs, through local manufacture within the ICT sector, covering decoders, digital antennae, satellite dishes and remote control units. We also plan to cover the sector from end-to-end. Employment creation opportunities are expected to grow to 3 000 as we expand our product lines. We will be the only truly Black-owned company involved in this in Africa.

Namec Technologies has utilised the past three years to thoroughly investigate the market in the Far East and to consider how best to ensure its competitiveness in the field. Now, working in partnership with Skyworth Digital, a Chinese company and subsidiary of the Skyworth Group, Namec Technologies has initiated a R60 million investment, developing a 15 230 square metre site within Dube TradeZone to accommodate an 8000 square metre manufacturing facility for the production set top boxes and consumer electronic products.
Namec is vying for the State-issued contract to supply Set-Top-Boxes in support of digital television's transition and migration across South Africa and the African continent.

The company's intention is to initially institute Set-top-Box and antenna manufacture and assembly before diversifying its range to include those included in the Skyworth Group's product bouquet. The State plans to subsidise some 5 million of these devices for the benefit of low-income television set-owning households. They are expected to cost between R300 to R500 each.

The Namec Technologies multi-million Rand investment re-enforces Dube TradePort’s sector strategy of targeting the cluster development of electronics manufacturers in the Trade Zone. Electronic goods constitute one of the most air-freighted product groups both locally and globally as they are predominantly lightweight, high-value and form part of the ‘just-in-time’ supply chain system.

With regard to employment creation, Panday said: “The real jobs are created in the assembling element, where people are used in inserting components by hand, assembly plastics using screwdrivers, testing, and including the packaging and logistics elements.” Surface mount technology using pick and place machines are very costly and requires minimum labour to operate.

Nationally, Government is looking to create an estimated 23 500 jobs through the manufacturing of Set-Top-Boxes as well as installation, maintenance and repair.

During the first year of operation Namec Technologies will introduce a number of engineers from China to provide for the transfer of skills to South Africans who will produce the devices. The company has also partnered with the Durban University of Technology with a view to engaging engineering students, sending them for training in China, as well as creating a high-tech laboratory locally for training purposes.
During a sod-turning ceremony at the company's Dube TradeZone site, representatives of Namec Technologies presented 16 share certificates to social interest groups, inclusive of the Disabled People of South Africa (DPSA), the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa (PWMSA), the MK Veterans Association, Contralesa, SANCO and Pamodzi Investments.

Addressing guests at the ceremony, South Africa's Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Prof Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize (MP), noted: “The ICT sector is seen as one of the Key drivers of our economy and as an enabler of economic development. On the side of Government, it’s a given that we are moving ahead with broadband. It's no longer a question of whether it will happen or not.”

Keith Thabo (President NAMEC), Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Prof Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize (MP), Vijay Panday (CEO NAMEC Manufacturing)