Renowned South African forged steel components manufacturer Naledi Ringrollers is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year.

Established in the early 1970s, Naledi Ringrollers has grown exponentially, adapting to market demands, diversifying its product range and embracing the challenges of a rapidly evolving industrial landscape, consequently enabling it to thrive and expand into new markets and products.

In 2010, Naledi Ringrollers commissioned the construction of a new factory in Vereeniging, in Gauteng, to accommodate its developing business, which was rapidly outgrowing its previous facilities. This expansion boosted the company’s capabilities and competitiveness not only domestically but also internationally.

More recently, the acquisition by the Naledi Inhlanganiso Group added renewed vigour to the organisation. As a 100% black-owned company with 60% black female ownership, Naledi Ringrollers has a clear vision for the future.

“Our primary goal is to become the largest forged steel components manufacturing business of its kind on the African continent, and we aspire to be the preferred business partner for both existing and new customers, with a specific focus on the forged-wheel market across Africa,” states Naledi Ringrollers COO Banie Rabie.

Despite the challenges of the rail industry, which is under severe pressure in South Africa, the company has successfully diversified its activities, serving other sectors such as railway, petrochemicals, agriculture, mining, civil engineering, water and sanitation, ports and harbours.

“This adaptability has helped the company navigate through tough times and remain resilient in the face of economic fluctuations,” notes Naledi Ringrollers CEO Sandile Maphatiane.

Meanwhile, to overcome the skills deficit in the country, Naledi Ringrollers has committed to the development of its personnel and employees while establishing a comprehensive bursary programme through North-West University and the University of Johannesburg.

“Our bursary programme supports students studying various engineering disciplines,” notes Rabie.
Moreover, the company runs an in-house artisan training programme, creating a skilled workforce that contributes to the growth of the broader economy.

It also recognises the importance of incorporating advanced technology while maintaining a balanced approach that does not compromise employment opportunities.

“Naledi Ringrollers’ investments in modern machinery and automation, including the upcoming installation of an automated NDT inspection line for wheels, will enhance our efficiency and productivity while creating sustainable job opportunities,” says Naledi Ringrollers executive chairperson Sibusiso Maphatiane.

The company’s strategic focus lies in localising the manufacturing capabilities to strengthen the South African economy.
“Our ambition is to develop locally designed and manufactured accredited products, and specifically wheels, with the aim of supplying these products across the African continent and, eventually, the global market,” he states.

With a growing global footprint, Naledi Ringrollers exports its products to various countries, including those in Europe. The company is exploring the possibility of expanding manufacturing capabilities abroad through subsidiaries while remaining committed to its South African roots.

It aims to strengthen its presence in the international market through these expansion opportunities through its subsidiary, Naledi Europe.

With a strong focus on balancing advanced technology with job creation, Naledi Ringrollers aims to be at the forefront of the next economic revolution in Africa.

“By embracing the potential of the continent, we see vast opportunities to contribute to the growth and development of the entire region,” says Sibusiso Maphatiane.

Industry support for local manufacturing is a critical aspect of the company’s vision. By encouraging the prioritisation of local components over imports, the company believes this can significantly impact positively on unemployment and foster new opportunities for skills development and economic growth.

Further, Naledi Ringrollers acknowledges its responsibility to the environment and society, and is committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

“We have invested heavily in renewable-energy sources, with 50% of our power consumption being delivered through a photovoltaic system. This move aligns with the vision of a sustainable and environmentally conscious future,” says Rabie.

As the company celebrates its golden anniversary, it stands tall as an exemplar of South African engineering excellence, and its commitment to innovation and local manufacturing, with its contribution to the continent’s growth promising a bright and prosperous future for the company and the nation.

“We encourage an economically active nation and continent by supporting local manufacturing and increasing the opportunity for skills development,” concludes Sandile Maphatiane.

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