LEPHEMA Executive Transport has partnered with a global building materials powerhouse, Lafarge, to launch a new cement brand, Maluti Mountain Cement.
A cement plant, which is currently in the testing phase, has been established in the Maseru industrial area. The facility has a capacity to produce about 60-90 tonnes of cement per hour at full capacity.
Already boasting of a hefty portfolio including interests in mining, drill and blast equipment, ready mix concrete production, agriculture, brick and paving and fuel and chemicals transportation among others, Lephama’s cement division is the latest addition to the business profile.
Founder and managing director of Lephema Executive Transport, tycoon Lebona Lephema, told guests at the launch recently that the new venture would contribute to the country’s economic development through job creation.
“It is an honour for me to ensure there are families who are going to get their food from this business venture,” Mr Lephema said.
He said at full capacity the project would employ between 100 to 150 workers for different functions at the company.
“I have always dreamt to have Basotho understand that as small as our country is, we have to strive to be producers. We can still produce in our country and make it a success.”
Mr Lephema said launching the facility is a dream come true as he has worked long and hard to see its eventual success.
“The idea to start a cement plant was conceived before the year 2000 when I visited a Gauteng cement producer and I wasn’t thinking of doing it only for the success of the Executive brand but I wanted to do it for the betterment and success of Lesotho and Basotho,” Mr Lephama said.
He further said it important for Basotho to support one another to bolster employment creation.
“All our businesses can be successful if there is employment but without people working, nobody will ever come and buy a bag of cement.”
He said the plant has got a testing laboratory which is going to ensure quality of their product is not compromised.
Mr Lebona however, challenged authorities to expedite development of a bureau of statistics to facilitate general quality control in the country.
“We are currently taking samples of our products to Gauteng for quality assessment instead of having the processes done locally.”
Communications Minister, Thesele ‘Maseribane, who spoke on behalf of the government, said the facility is contributing to the country’s industrialisation drive.
“This shows that Basotho have the capacity to take the 50 percent procurement ratio stipulated in the upcoming (Lesotho Highlands Water Project) Phase II project,” Mr Maseribane said.
According to the LHWP Phase II agreement, monetary value of advance infrastructure works under the project is to be shared on a 50:50 ratio between Lesotho and South African contractors.
Lafarge South Africa’s chief executive, Rossen Papazov, paid homage to Mr Lephema’s professionalism and integrity in business. He described Mr Lephema as a visionary who has surrounded himself with a strong team of professionals for his businesses.
“The other important factor is that Mr Lephema has realised is that he should invest in top notch equipment and systems which are built to last long into the future,” Mr Papazov said.
Standard Lesotho Bank’s chief executive, Mpho Vumbukani, said they were excited about partnering with the company which is beginning a new journey.
“It is important for us to support this business as our clients so that our own business can grow as we go forward,” Mr Vumbukani said.