As South Africa faces scarcity of masks, many have embarked on a business journey to bring aid to the scarcity through stylish fabric masks. Local Noupoort resident, Martha Ntombi Mosoane, a rural Northern Cape designer, has successfully registered with the government’s Central Supplier Database, at the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown and has already started to produce and supply personal hygiene masks.
Mosoane is making up to 250 facial masks per day and her business advisor believes that production of between 800 to 1000 units per day is easily possible as she has the equipment and requires only materials and additional staff. Mosoane faces delivery challenges as couriers are scarce in Noupoort and some have discontinued the services.
“As part of our business support programme, this local micro business received assistance to register as well as other business advice and technical support that includes sourcing raw materials, guidance and the support on meeting compliance standards,” explained Noupoort Wind Farm Economic Development Manager, Sandisiwe Mntonintshi.
The fabric is a tight weave cloth that helps reduce transmission to others, if the wearer is ill. Investigation of surgical material supplies is underway, however, the masks are currently not intended for use in the medical field and are targeted at domestic use, to reduce familial transmission.
“Medical masks require special production, so her products are aimed at households wishing to reduce the possibility of self- transmission to others. The masks are washable as per the WHO recommendations for mask use. Martha’s masks are heat treated before packaging and dispatch, concluded Mntonintshi.
This initiative is in response to an invitation to all potential service providers, from the Department of Small Business Development, Republic of South Africa. Mosoane is part of Noupoort Wind Farm’s Economic Development Programme. Local businesses on the program receive business coaching, training, market linkages and opportunities, and assistance with funding applications.