Ambitious Pan African construction and engineering juggernauts, Khato Civils and South Zambezi put on an expo of their own to selected stakeholders and potential clients from as far as the Sudan, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana and Malawi, as the companies launched themselves to the African continent in style.
“We are coming, and we are coming fast!”, bellowed the executive director of Khato Holdings Simbi Phiri as he launched his companies to the continent in grand fashion as the guests from the various corners of Africa were treated to a well packaged short film of Khato and South Zambezi's objectives and vision for Africa.
At the grand event stakeholders that included representatives of governments were also shown around the various divisions and capabilities of Khato Civils and South Zambezi to further emphasize their glittering profile as simply in the category of the very best in South Africa and that the Simbi Phiri owned companies are not a front of some white owned entities, in case there is any doubt
Central to the expo of Khato Civils and South Zambezi services to its potential clients in its Pan African agenda was the theme of genuine, truly African owned entities with a traceable physical address of their own, that is not rented from anyone, while all its African directors, were paraded before Africa, to drive home that message.
On hand to underscore this Khato Civils and South Zambezi's pan African posture were the Johannesburg mayor Solly Msimang and the Gauteng Province Premier David Makhura who rallied the continent to take advantage of doing business with Khato as the window to entering the lucrative R350 billion Gauteng economy he described as the third largest economy in Africa as a whole.
And according to the premier of Gauteng, investing in such huge and trendy looking physical address at a prime location in Centurion, is a statement of intent and purpose by Khato Civils and South Zambezi, announcing to all that the companies are here to stay, and are real.
“It takes much more enduring work and much more discipline to build a business, because some stakeholders along the way are tsotsis and will tarnish your name, even in newspapers, so building a successful business like this, also means you have got to choose good friends”.
The Gauteng premier who has seen Khato Civils and South Zambezi successfully carrying out several civil works projects in his province, a R350 billion economy, hailed the wisdom of the companies’ directors for investing their profits on equipment, professionals and building their commendable headquarters, a path he said many are not willing to pursue.
Makhura said as the Gauteng premier, he was proud of Khato civils and South Zambezi’s ground-breaking work in Africa, hailing it as a step in the right direction toward contributing to the economy of South Africa and the rest of Africa, at the same time.
The Gauteng premier observed that the South African economy cannot grow by just looking inward but need the likes of Khato Civils and South Zambezi to venture into virgin terrains of Africa which may be hard to consider but rewarding with persistence.
The Gauteng premier observed that few pan African firms make efforts to find opportunities in Africa while multi nationals from China, Europe and America are today engaged in the scramble for Africa with huge rewards in the process.
However, Makhura commended Khato for believing in Africa and looking out for opportunities even in Sudan and Malawi, because they believe in Africa.
However, the Gauteng premier admitted often times the opportunities presented by Africa are not so obvious because of difficult terrains, business and political environment, but said the mantra should be that the more difficult the terrain, the more the opportunity.
Executive chairman Simbi Phiri assured Africa that wherever he operates his companies strive to create a lasting legacy of job creation, skills development, and that it is their deliberate strategy to create and leave behind success cases similar to Khato across Africa.
To buttress his point, Simbi told Africa that in all his projects, 35 per cent, and sometimes 40 per cent
At their Centurion headquarters, Khato and South Zambezi employ about 500 fulltime employees, while on average 2000 more are employed in their projects, “We wish we could do 20 000 at a time to help reduce unemployment”, Khato pledged.
At their multi-million water project in Giyani, Limpopo more than five million(R5m) was invested in local schools’ renovations, and classroom equipment as part of Khato's initiative to empower communities. According to Simbi, Khato, as an indigenous African company that understand fellow Africans’ needs, is passionate about robust social responsibility programs with long lasting legacy.
According to Simbi Phiri, at Khato, they view everyone as a shareholder, “We have unregistered shareholders, such as clients, financial, institutions, municipalities, we need them, and they need us, it is all thanks to them for the growth of Khato”, declared Simbi Phiri.
Simbi assured Africa, that in dealing with Khato Civils they are working with the very best in South Africa in terms of gradings, after Khato was awarded the best possible grading, by the construction industry authority.
Khato have the best industry grading in Civil Engineering (9 CE), general building(9 GE), Mechanical Engineering(9 ME), Electrical Engineering (9 EE).
Simbi said, the fact that there are not many companies with the levels of grading Khato has, should be proof that his companies are no mickey mouse. Putting the Cidb gradings into perspective Simbi informed Africa that for a company to qualify for a Cidb grade 9 such a company should be making at least a billion Rand, with documentary proof that such a company is paying to the South African Revenue Services, some value added tax(Vat) of R14 million, annually .
Simbi further explained to the continental gathering that Khato's Cidb 9CE grading means there is no pipe work Khato cannot handle, be it gas pipe, oil pipe, steel pipe, or whatever pipe.
On their Cidb 9 GE grading, Simbi told the African gathering that his company South Zambezi designed the magnificent headquarters buildings they have come to see and that Khato executed the project. “This means we can design and build high rise buildings, houses, any road type, we are the best”.
In fact they have been recently awarded a R144million tender for engineering and construction of a double decker bridge on one of the busiest roads in Johannesburg, the M1. The tender is for the challenging repair and upgrading project concerned with both carriage ways of the double decker bridge between Carr street and the Crown Interchange on the M1 motorway. The project is seen as key for Khato as they expand their roads and bridges division.
Simbi elaborated to Africa that at Cidb 9EE means they are the best in everything electrical including reticulation, with transformers in between, they are the best.
Simbi also reminded his guests that his companies invest in people by training them, or by hiring highly experienced people; “ This company is a multinational, we have the best expertise in the world, we don't play second fiddle to Chinese, Japanese, Germans, or whoever, because we have all those nationalities in our various expertise, the best of them, for that matter, so Africa can rest assured that in us, they have the very best”,emphasized Simbi.