“It takes more than a single moment to do something unusual and risky,” says Reuben Nkosi, the MD of Reunko Steel, one of Sasol Mining successful suppliers.Reuben Nkosi, MD of Reunko Steel
Nkosi says a series of events compelled him to quit his job of 20 years and start Reunko Steel in 2005. The biggest motivator was a lack of growth prospects within the company. Another was that he loves challenges and 20 years of doing roughly the same thing had proven frustrating. ”Most importantly, I wanted a better life, not be rich but be able to afford my needs,” says Nkosi.
Nkosi says when his employer told him he cannot make it selling its products, he then decided to sell his own and 13 years ago, he bought his first thread rolling machine to manufacture mining roof bolts, which are used to support tunnels in mine shafts before blasting. Roof bolts are still his key supply to Sasol.
A crucial intervention was when the Department of Mineral Resources introduced Nkosi to Sasol Mining, and thus began a fruitful Supplier Development relationship. Nkosi says early audits by Sasol found that the company did not comply with Sasol Mining Supplier Standards.
A formal supplier development programme was adopted, to help Reunko meet Sasol’s safety and quality requirements. A tender was issued December 2013 and a contract awarded August 2014 that was to be the change of Reunko Steel Suppliers.
Nkosi says this proved transformative as the company started to have continuous production, revenue, and better cash flow. “With the job we got from Sasol Mining, Reunko Steel Suppliers grew from 15 employees to 60, from a R5 million to an over R50 million turnover per annum company,” says Nkosi.
Nkosi says the company is currently diversifying to other products within the mining support industry, and is focused on local manufacturing, job creation and youth development.