25 Aug 20 News Communities South Africa

Covid partner hails “light at end of tunnel” in Women’s Month

Octavia van den Heever says mask production for Kangnas Wind Farm has "put bread on the table again"

An enterprising entrepreneur has praised her local wind farm’s support for women-owned businesses, revealing how it has enabled her to survive South’s Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown – and help her community’s response to the pandemic.

Octavia van den Heever set up her event management business, Elvic VP Enterprise, in 2005 and specialised in hiring out décor for weddings and parties.

Octavia switched from making party décor with help from Economic Development team

"I invested in a sewing machine and [hem finishing] overlocker to make my own tablecloths, runners, overlays and chair covers," she explained.

But when lockdown restrictions were imposed in March, orders at the Springbok, Northern Cape business dried up almost overnight.

Resourceful Octavia said: "My business came to a complete standstill, which is how I started to design and make masks."

The economic development team at Kangnas Wind Farm identified Elvic VP as one of three local businesses that could help hit its target of producing 8,000 protective masks for free distribution, and support local income generation at the same time.

Shining a light on Kangnas’s backing of women-owned enterprises during the current Women’s Month, Economic Development Manager Cheryl Persensie described the help that Octavia has been given to fulfil her order of 2,667 masks.

She said: "We are assisting these SMMEs by supplying branded material, thread, elastic and inner layer polypropylene or easy fuse iron-on vilene. We will then buy-back the completed masks and distribute them to the Department of Education, the Department of Social Development, the District Disaster Management staff working at the roadblocks, as well as community members.

"Small, medium, and micro enterprises are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative will allow them to earn an income and continue to support their families during this time."

Octavia added: "Since the announcement of lockdown in March, some businesses have had to close their doors, resulting in many people losing their jobs, which has created overwhelming uncertainty. This assistance is a light at the end of this dark tunnel – I can put bread on the table again."

  • Kangnas Wind Farm is currently being constructed by Mainstream for our Africa joint venture, Lekela Power. When operational later this year, it will have the capacity to generate around 563,500 MWh of clean renewable energy per year, powering up to 120,000 South African homes. It will also eliminate approximately 550,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year when compared to traditional fossil fuel power plants.