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Golden Fruit 'resurrection' set for August

MBONGENI MGUNI
Waiting to bloom: Bidders at Golden Fruit's auction in 2015
Sefalana Holdings expects to restart activities at the iconic Golden Fruit plant at Boatle and put product on the shelves by September, marking the facility’s return to life seven years after its closure.

The regional grocer is expected to spend in excess of P10 million and initially hire 20 people as it resurrects the mothballed plant. Recruitment is due to begin in August.

Golden Fruit was mothballed in 2013 amid operational stress, with more than 100 workers losing their jobs. At the time, the then 17-year-old company was wholly owned by the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), which had snapped it up from its founding citizen investors.

Sefalana gained ownership of the plant in 2015 via a P4.3 million winning bid at an onsite auction. Group finance director, Mohamed Osman told BusinessWeek plans were underway to relaunch the plant this year. “We expect hiring to start around August and product should be on shelves around September,” he said on Tuesday. “We expect to hire around 20 people and we will

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consider previous and new employees as appropriate as we build up the team.”

Sefalana is expected to feed the Golden Fruit products through its extensive retail network that extends into Lesotho and Namibia.  “We look forward to providing the market with a juice range made in Botswana by Batswana,” Osman said. For the community of Boatle and nearby areas such as Taung, Ramotswa and Mmankgodi, the mothballed plant supported employment and was a source of citizen pride. Sefalana, which is 93%-citizen owned, is one of the country’s biggest and most diversified manufacturing and retail groups.

Osman said the group would also be entering the water-bottling market this year from its Foods Botswana division. The water bottling plant will run alongside Foods Botswana’s milk plant in Broadhurst which produces brands such as Delta Fresh.

 



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