Home appliance brand Defy, a subsidiary of Arcelik Global, has invested more than R1billion in upgrading three local production centres to serve as its strategic manufacturing hub. Fundamental to this endeavour is an investment of R130 million at the Jacobs factory located in Durban to produce 6kg, 7.5kg and 10kg top loader washing machines.
Through the revival of the Jacobs factory, a total of 75 new job opportunities will be created to manufacture an estimated 500 top loaders per shift. This manufacturing development also serves as a much-needed boost to the local community of Jacobs by undertaking a localisation programme as part of their new investment.
By 2020, Defy is looking to expand their output to include new cooking products such as 60cm built-in ovens and a new free-standing stove, an investment opportunity totalled at R25milion collectively.
Growing local economy
According to Evren Albas, the CEO at Defy South Africa, economic growth in South Africa is a top priority for the company. “Defy believes that their regional expansion and increased exports will create a positive impact on job creation. It is our intention to open authorised service centres all over the country. The first model is already operational at Springfield in Durban since December 2018, and Defy is working on a strategy to roll out this model to all critical cities in South Africa.”
This sentiment is reiterated by Oguzhan Ozturk, the chief technology officer at Arcelik A.S, who says, “As we expand our presence across Africa, Defy remains committed to economic development.”
Collaboration with Wits University
Arcelik is also extending its global Research and Development network by creating partnerships with key universities and has recently signed an agreement with Wits University to start a collaboration for joint venture engineering studies, focussing on developing new technologies for some of its products. This new satellite laboratory will be located in Midrand, Johannesburg.
According to Dr Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry, this investment further signifies that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination across all sectors, particularly advanced manufacturing. “Defy is now a significant employer in Jacobs, and the skills developed by academics through its Midrand Research and Development lab makes Defy a significant competitor and partner.”