Here comes a budding fuel industrialist

Sibusiso Shabangu, 27, from KaMhlushwa in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga believes that his fuel production project will grow and create about 100 jobs for the locals if it can receive help from relevant authorities.

Shabangu, the founder of a company known as SMS Sibusiso Makhawane Shabangu Small Enterprise, uses plastic and old vehicle tyres to produce different types of fuels such as diesel, petrol, gas and jet fuel.

In his operations, he also produces candles and floor polish, which are sold directly to the public.

The entrepreneur, who previously worked as a security guard at a mine near Sasol on the Mpumalanga Highveld, quit his job to start his fuel manufacturing project in 2018.

At the moment Shabangu’s project has six employees working full time and four part-time.

“The only thing we need now is financial injection or any assistance that will help grow the project. The project has the potential of creating about 69 to 100 full-time jobs.

“Through the support, I can buy machines that will help to grow the operations. The machine that we use, I have manufactured it using my engineering skills. Every day we produce 10 to 100 litres of petrol, 50 to 100 litres of oil and 50 to 200 litres of diesel,” says Shabangu.

“We sell our fuel to local farmers who use it for their machines such as tractors. The construction industry also uses our diesel. We sell our fuel at R10 per litre because people don’t have money.”

The entrepreneur is grateful to a local tribal authority who offered him a piece of land to run his operation in 2020. He has not yet moved to the land due to a lack of finances.

He says the area also still has to be assessed by environmentalists before it can be put to use.

“Some environmental assessment has been done on the land but we are still waiting for further assessment, which costs about R400 000.

“We are not yet compliant with other fuel regulations such as traffic management, air pollution control, water use rights.

“So we hope that the government will assist us with this and other related issues,” he says.

When asked what made him think of producing fuel, he says initially he wanted to produce plastic bricks, but as he was working on the project he realised the potential.

He then conducted research and started the fuel production process.

At school, Shabangu studied mathematics and physical science but acquired more knowledge when he was a student at Mlumati Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in Nkomazi.

After completing his studies he could not get a job. He worked as a security guard at one of the mines next to Sasol, which fuelled his ambitions of owning a fuel producing company.

Shabangu says he is interacting with government entities such as the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), who promised to assist him to develop his project.

“The officials from Seda and DTI are helping to make this project a success. I presented the vision of the project to them and they were impressed.

“Now I can’t say anything about our negotiations because they are still at an early stage.

“In the next five years, I want to own a huge fuel production company supplying big companies with fuel.”

Seda provincial manager Mashiba Kgole confirmed that they were helping Shabangu to grow and sustain the project.

“You are talking about the Nkomazi project? We are in the process of assisting him,” says Kgole.

Disco Mashele, a local farmer who relies on Shabangu’s fuel, says: “This is amazing. I use his diesel on my farm. It is well and not producing smoke.”

 

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