“An HIV-free generation is possible. Projects such as the Gemilatex male condom manufacturing plant can not only help the economy through local manufacturing and black industrialisation, but also contribute to safer sex and a healthier future for South Africans,” Denzel Maduray, Aurecon Principal, Program Advisory.
According to Statistics South Africa’s mid-year population estimates for 2018, the total HIV prevalence rate for the country is 13.1%, with the rate for all adults aged 15-49 at 19%. Gemilatex (Pty) Ltd is a company that has been established to produce male condoms, which have been shown to help reduce HIV transmission and other STIs. There is currently a demand for 1-billion male condoms per annum in South Africa, but less than 20% are being manufactured locally and the rest imported.
In January 2017, Aurecon was appointed by the Gemilatex/National Empowerment Fund (NEF) JV as the Owner’s Engineer for a new male latex condom manufacturing plant and associated infrastructure in South Africa. Aurecon’s role includes project management, process engineering, quantity surveying, architectural subcontracting, as well as civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering. The scope of work also included the inspection and selection of original equipment manufacturing technologies, the basic design of the proposed factory together with CAPEX estimates for the facility.
The biggest challenge is getting the project to a stage of financial close. Although the project has the backing of the NEF as part of the Black Industrialist Programme, many consultations and strategic sessions were needed to ensure the financial future of the venture. The East London Industrial Development Zone has agreed to fund the proposed factory building and act as the project’s developer. The JV client has won a tender from the Department of Health for condom supply on a three-year distribution agreement, with the potential to upgrade to a manufacturer for the Department, once the proposed factory is operational and has been SABS certified.
It is envisaged that the plant will produce between 70-million and 280-million condoms annually to be sold locally and abroad. The majority shareholder of the project is a black female as a key goal of the project is to promote black industrialisation and women empowerment. The stakeholders believe that an HIV-free generation is possible, and intend to reach out to society and make an impact at a grassroots level.
While the project is still in the financial closing stage, it is envisioned that the factory will be operational by the end of 2020.
“Everyone in our team is passionate about this project. We commend the client for their vision and drive to bring this dream to life,” says Denzel Maduray.