ISUZU Motors South Africa (IMSAf) recently issued an Enterprise Development grant of close to half a million Rand for the localisation of an extended reach aerial platform – also known as a cherry picker – in South Africa.
The SLT 180 telescopic aerial platform will be developed and manufactured locally by Isuzu business partner Smith Capital Equipment (SCE) to reach heights of 16 to 18 metres, which previously could only be achieved with imported platforms. Currently SCE locally designs and manufactures the following ranges of aerial platforms: telescopic (T100, T120, T140) and articulated (9SS, SL125, 12SS, 15SS, 21SS).
SCE, which is head-quartered in Gauteng, is an 84% majority black-owned and 56% majority black woman-owned company specialising in aerial platforms, drilling rigs and importation and installation of FASSI cranes.
Set to meet the highest international design standards, the first engineering prototype of the SLT 180 manufactured in South Africa is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, said Fortunate Mdanda, Chief Executive Officer of SCE.
“Safety is of paramount importance when designing such a structure therefore caution needs to be observed. With the growing preference for telescoping aerial units over articulating units, the SLT 180 will be the first locally manufactured telescoping unit able to reach heights beyond 16 metres, therefore it presents great market opportunities,” said Mdanda.
She added that the new venture which is supported by Isuzu with an investment of R485 000, will allow SCE to upskill the development capabilities of the company and its labour force.
“The development of this new product will help with job retention as it poses new market possibilities likely to expand the company product range and consequently cultivate internal skills development,” said Mdanda.
Dominic Rimmer, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Isuzu Motors South Africa, said this Enterprise Development grant aligns not only with Isuzu’s transformation values, but also government’s call for localisation and enterprise development partnerships in the automotive sector.
The SLT 180 will typically fit on an Isuzu truck, and is set to provide state-of-the-art truck body solutions for Isuzu customers in a range of industries.
SCE is no stranger to Isuzu, as it is a subsidiary of Isipho Capital Holdings. In 2019 Isipho Capital Holdings made history with the purchase of Bates Shelly Beach, as the first Isuzu dealership to be 100% black-owned, in addition to being 65% woman-owned.
Isipho Capital Holdings is run by Mdanda, and her husband, Sipho. The power couple are at the forefront of South Africa’s new wave of Black industrialists.
“Isuzu is committed to transformation and continues to drive a culture of inclusivity. If we do not empower our value chain, the economy cannot grow. We therefore ensure that we support supplier and dealer transformation initiatives, as well as the deepening of the local value chain through enterprise development initiatives such as this partnership with SCE,” said Rimmer.