Today I missioned out to Epping (vast industrial zone resembling the Purley Way in south London) and visited Tandym printers. Interesting not only to see South Africa’s only eight-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster 102 press… but also to chat to production manager Rueben, and owner Basil, who has run this family business for 17 years.
Having spent most of the last week talking to unemployed young people, getting the view from the employer of up to 100 staff revealed the pressures of being responsible for so many people’s livelihoods (where one wage often supports an extended family), including the unskilled workers who often find themselves in financial need beyond their wage. Often, they choose to use workers rather than machines for certain processes, to make sure they are creating enough of these livelihoods.
I also heard, not for the first time, the familiar tale of the mismanagement of apprenticeships by the SA government, and alleged embezzlement of the 1% payroll contribution that Basil’s company (as with others) are required by law to contribute to their sector for skills development. Now apprenticeships are back on the agenda, there doesn’t seem to be much faith that they’ll be managed any better in the future.
Tandym are quoting on both the Ikamva Live and future Live Magazine SA jobs, and are happy to bring young people into the factory to see the magazines running off the presses… let’s hope their prices are as nice as their ethos.