Ex-Fedusa boss set to create 20 000 jobs
CAPE TOWN – Former Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) general secretary Dennis George has transitioned into an aspiring black industrialist with a plan to create up to 20 000 jobs.
George said that he was planning to mine and beneficiate quartz in the Northern Cape.
He said he was currently the executive chairperson of African Quartz, a company which was established last November.
“Our capital expenditure will be in the region of R5 billion,” George said on the sidelines of the Mining In Africa Indaba in Cape Town yesterday.
“We met with all the major banks. They said they like this. Then we met with the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
"We spoke to Nigerians, who said they wanted to support something like this, this is a great opportunity and investors agree with us.
“For example, they want to know that we will include the employees in order for them to also get a share in the business,” said George.
He said that he believed the beneficiation project could go a long way in alleviating the chronic joblessness in Upington.
George said the company proposed establishing five subsidiaries, including developing a R3.2bn submerged arc furnace plant in the Upington Special Development Zone where the quartz would be beneficiated into silicon.
The project also proposed the development of the greenfields photovoltaic manufacturing plant for generating electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun.
”We can create a lot of jobs. When I did a study into the project I decided to call the place the Silicon Corridor,” said George, adding he hoped it would grow from strength to strength, similar to the famous Silicon Valley in the US.
George spent 20 years serving at the helm of Fedusa before he was dismissed last year amid allegations of misconduct. “When I was a trade unionist I knew I was going to retire at 60.
"So for 50 years, I developed a self-development plan, and I completed my Master’s degree in technology and innovation.
"I then completed my doctorate. When I was doing my doctorate I said to myself: life is not only about being in a trade union.
"I learnt important lessons, including that communities have to be included in the mining operations,” said George.
He said that he was applying some of the lessons he learnt while serving in a trade union movement, including negotiation, critical thinking, and solving problems.