Investing in conservation

Investing in conservation

While Jendamark applies ecosystem thinking to the development of all our manufacturing technologies, we recently invested in an ecosystem of a different sort in our quest to be the employer of choice.

In October, Jendamark Automation announced an investment in conservation which will transform one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s most controversial game parks into a private sanctuary that aims to restore biodiversity and promote wildlife education.

The company purchased the 120-hectare Seaview Predator Park with the intention to develop it into a conservation and rehabilitation centre that will create jobs and act as an outdoor retreat for Jendamark employees, customers, and community groups.

Wildlife sanctuary

According to operations director Siegfried Lokotsch, Seaview Private Sanctuary, as it is now known, is not a commercial tourism venture and will not be open to the general public.

“However, once we are up and running, any educational or community upliftment programme will be welcome to apply to visit our facility free of charge. We want to give back to our community and educate people about the importance of protecting our wildlife.”

Lokotsch says the company is in the process of developing a long-term veld and game management plan in consultation with a wildlife veterinarian and environmental specialist.

“We want to understand the biodiversity and do the right thing ecologically in terms of the species that we introduce, the indigenous vegetation and the carrying capacity of the land.

“Currently, we have several free-ranging species such as various buck, giraffe, and zebra. There are no animals in cages and no dangerous game. All the big cats for which the park was previously known have been rehomed by the former owners.”

Development plans

With water for the animals being scarce, rainwater tanks have been installed and a borehole will be sunk to access a steady groundwater supply.

Lokotsch says the first phase of redevelopment will be completed within the next six to 12 months, beginning with high-security electrified fencing to keep out poachers, and keep animals and visitors safe.

The existing facilities, including the restaurant, log cabins, camp sites, ablution blocks and braai areas, will also be upgraded.

“Our vision is to have mountain biking and walking trails criss-crossing the property, so that it becomes a very special outdoor recreational centre that allows people to have close encounters with our incredible wildlife,” says Lokotsch.

“In the next two years, we aim to create 30 to 50 jobs in the local community, assisting with trail building and the removal of alien invasive species such as black wattle, which we will help them bag and sell as braai wood for additional income.”

Sustainable growth

He says the new investment aligns with the company’s existing sustainability efforts, such as the rooftop solar energy plant powering Jendamark’s Gqeberha manufacturing facility. In addition, aspects of Jendamark’s core business are having a positive environmental impact, such as the development of assembly solutions for electric vehicle power packs, as well as catalytic converters, which reduce harmful exhaust emissions.

“What we’ve realised as a tech business is that attracting and retaining specialised skills involves more than money,” adds Lokotsch.

“For the new generation of tech talent, shared values and wellness incentives are just as important as above-market salaries. So, we are constantly thinking of new and authentic ways to be a good corporate citizen and the employer of choice.”

Sisters for change

Sisters for change

Period poverty is the second biggest issue in Africa preventing educational equality for girls. Jendamark Automation has supported the start-up of Sisterhood SA Pty, a visionary health programme that is changing lives with a simple, sustainable sanitary kit.

While menstruation is a taboo topic in many communities, it has a very real impact on the lives of young women, who miss between 75 and 100 days of school every year because they either cannot afford or do not have access to sanitary products.

Enter Sisterhood SA Pty, which has designed a cost-effective sanitary kit that aims to educate and empower girls and keep them in school. The kit includes a washable, reusable sanitary pad and panties, available in pre-teen to adult sizes, plus low-cost cleaning products and educational brochures on reproductive health.

From start-up to success
The Gqeberha-based, women-owned company first engaged with Jendamark during the Covid-19 pandemic when likeminded local businesses started working together to set up supply chains and funding for struggling hospitals.

Seeing the opportunity to make a difference in a different direction, operations director Siegfried Lokotsch made start-up funding available, which allowed Sisterhood SA to develop test kits for a trial run at three schools in Gqeberha.

“The funding gave us the chance to complete our first manufacturing run with leading ISO9000 companies, following written approval from the South African Bureau of Standards to start production on the product and packaging.
“We were able to secure our patent and have a finished product to present to the international market,” says Sisterhood SA Pty director and founder Shaan Keegan.

“We are now in the process of finalising full production and, given the interest from the retail sector and corporate social investment programmes, especially in the USA, we will be starting in 2023 with 3000 units per day.

Partnering for growth
“We have established partnerships with our CSI partner New Africa Education Foundation, which can issue Section 18A tax certificates for corporate donors, and with Novartis Pharmaceuticals, which has a footprint into 47 countries in Africa. We are also endorsed by the United Nations Women’s Forum and Social Justice for Women in SA.”

Keegan says the product will first be distributed in South Africa, followed by Kenya and the USA, and then the rest of Africa, once cluster patents have been secured and they have entered into policing of patent agreements with these countries. She says recent discussions have taken place with leading international organisations such as the East African Health Platform, SOS Children’s Villages, and the Red Cross, as well as a chain of hospitals in India.

“Sisterhood SA Pty would not exist if it was not for Jendamark, so their constant support and contribution meant the world to us. The kit concept and the education programme have never been done before. We are now gaining global attention and, as per the latest interview at the Global Changemakers forum in the USA, we are being well received by Africa and the West.”