Tag: Yekani

Local tech manufacturer auctions off assets

By Myles Illidge for MyBroadand

The Yekani manufacturing facility in East London has had its assets auctioned off, with some of its 10-inch tablets being sold for as little as R234, MyBroadband has learned.

Yekani closed the R1 billion factory in January 2020, citing financial issues.

According to a MyBroadband reader who lives in East London, the auction included about 3,000 assembled 10-inch tablets with detachable keyboards.

The tablets were auctioned off in different batch sizes.

Based on a Bidorbuy listing, which sold one of the devices for R1,900, the tablets feature a 7th generation Intel Atom processor with 2GB of RAM. The tablets run Windows 10 Pro with no preinstalled licence.

Yekani apparently produced the tablets for schools, as the unit inspected by the reader had a KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education badge on the back.

Other assets auctioned off included:

  • Interactive large-screen monitors;
  • Whiteboards;
  • An Isuzu KB72 double cab bakkie;
  • Zebra ZM400 printers;
  • A Brother VM400TE/AC vacuum packager;
  • An Acepak LS 600 x 800p industrial vacuum packer;
  • Technician work stations;
  • Sorting tables; and
  • Office furniture.

The auction took place on Wednesday and Thursday, 25 and 26 May 2022.

Yekani’s electronics factory was opened by former trade and industry minister Rob Davies in East London in June 2018.

Less than two years later, the company was forced into liquidation after it could not repay a large loan from Standard Bank.

Shortly after liquidation proceedings began, it was reported that the real reason for Yekani’s closure was because it “refused to sell a controlling stake to the husband of communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams”.

However, Yekani refuted the statement, saying that it did not blame Ndabeni-Abrahams and her husband — or anyone else — for its financial difficulties.

“Yekani and its group CEO in particular take full responsibility for its current state, and its priority remains to do everything in its power to protect and save the jobs of its employees,” it said.

Yekani also auctioned off its machinery, including this Acepak vacuum packer.

Yekani is not the only South African electronics manufacturer to go belly up this year.

In February, South Africa’s first smartphone factory was put up for auction in an attempt by funders to salvage what they could from the facility.

Mara phones announced to much fanfare in 2019 that it had raised R1.5 billion to set up and run the factory.

It claimed the facility could manufacture 1.2 million smartphones for the domestic and regional market and had already employed 200 workers upon opening.

However, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) would later reveal that Mara South Africa ultimately only raised R429 million, of which R238 million came from the IDC.

President Cyril Ramaphosa opened the Mara facility in October 2019, and after just more than two years of operation, it has been forced to liquidate its assets.

However, in March, the Mara Phones management buyout team claimed that it had secured an investor that could help save the South African factory and the jobs of those employed by Mara.


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