The Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA) provides technical and business support to small and medium enterprises, helping them to succeed, grow and, in turn, create further job opportunities.


In an economic environment as challenging as the one we face, there is a growing need for more entreprenuers to drive the economy. Entrepreneurship is a possible solution to rectifying the unemployment problem in the country as it has the ability to drive sustainable economic growth. Sizwe Khumalo, depot manager in Nelspruit, is an example of a small business leader who is contributing to job creation, while dealing with the waste tyre problem in the community.


The REDISA depot in Nelspruit was opened in May 2015 and, as depot manager, Sizwe is responsible for the safety of everyone on the premises by making sure compliance standards are met and that the depot is fully organised to meet the daily operational needs. One of his core tasks is ensuring that waste tyres are accounted for and delivered to recyclers for processing. “I have been undergoing on-the-job training, learning more about managing the depot, and developing business and financial planning skills, which has been incredibly helpful. REDISA also provides support for upskilling my employees,” says Sizwe.


Explaining what his typical day entails, Sizwe commented, “My day is usually very busy as we have trucks coming in and out of the depot, to load and offload scrap tyres of different kinds and sizes. The depot currently receives an average of 5 000 tyres on a monthly basis so we have to make sure that the tyres are correctly accounted for and that the invoices match the stock, while the forklift operators help to pack stock according to the tyre categories and the waste tyre regulations.” 


The depot facilitates the storage and pre-processing of scrap tyres before they are sent to recyclers for conversion into various new valuable materials that can be used in other industries and markets, for example, creating astro-turfs, and extracting liquids and gases using the pyrolysis process. This means industry does not have to constantly rely on virgin materials.


In terms of the REDISA depot manager mentorship initiative, “A suitable candidate is selected and mentored by a REDISA employee who has a number of years’ experience working within the tyre industry. REDISA is proud of the mentorship programme and we are especially proud of the progress made in ensuring the success of the business while fostering sustainable business models,” said Stacey Davidson, director at REDISA.


“In addition REDISA has put 80% of its revenue into supporting the circular economy, through investment back into industry and creating a market for the handling of waste tyres. At the end of November 2016 this resulted in over 3000 jobs and 200 small businesses being developed”, says Davidson.


Sizwe says, “I am very happy about the opportunity I have found, especially as I am able to assist my mother and family by paying school fees for my younger sister. My life has changed for the better as I now have an income that I can rely on and can also put away for my savings.” Sizwe says he hopes to continue to grow the team at the depot and contribute to the town’s growing waste management system.

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