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Ed Koch believe that Louis Sithole had a potential to start and run a successful business in mixing chemicals. His conviction was what changed a disadvantaged retrenchment to an advantaged opportunity that saw the humble beginnings of Zamani Chemicals (Pty) Ltd back in July 2002.

Project Vuka – was unilever´s transformation idea that was going to assist retrenched worker by helping them establish small business, and then supporting them through a mentorship program and offering them business management and marketing skill. (Unilever – report 2002). The targeted areas were forklift maintenance, the manufacturing of blue dye, mixing of chemicals, soap powder packaging, and preparation of chemicals. Under the project, the union was able to negotiate a contact between Unilever and these individual business – whit the provision that certain conditions are met including quality standards and Unilever´s production volumes - for a minimum of three years. Ed Koch was going to be the project coordinator.


Louis Sithole, who was running a “making” department that made and packaged density powder line with products like omo micro, surf micro and skip micro, was now facing and axe as his department was closing whit the strategic shift from density packs to sachets – him and 28 of his men were facing retrenchment. Whit the raising of minimum education levels and the move towards a world - class manufacturing strategy as well as the introduction of new machinery that requires greater skills most of his men were absorbed by other departments thanks to “first in last out” job shedding principle. But Louis ‘age was going to alienate hem.

Ed Koch believed in Louis Sithole so much that he introduced to him the Vuka Project scheme and sold him the idea of starting a business of mixing chemicals. Ed promise Louis that Unilever would buy minor ingredients from this proposed company. Having come to the crossroads whith a bleak future inside Unilever, Louis finally gave Ed´s idea a thought. He knew it wasn´t going to be easy but he also knew he would never find out unless he tried. He called on old friends (also inside Unilever) to see if any would be interested – John Mathibela raised his hand, so did Derick Matjie, Michael Mokou, Isaac Ngcongo, Lucky Kaliphi, Vicent Nkosi and Raymon Mzobe. The eight men went on to set Zamani Chemicals (PTY) Ltd on wheels.

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How Zamani Chemicals (Pty) Ltd is building partnerships that work

Colour speckle manufacturing, powder chemical packaging and sourcing are some of the strategic partnership that Zamani Chemicals (Pty) Ltd is creating and fortifying.

Zamani Chemicals Pty Ltd believes in strategic partnerships and collaboration in order to improve and add value for all its customers. This is not just to ensure continuous learning but to increase industry participation and responsiveness in the sourcing making, packaging and distribution of industrial washing powders, liquid detergents and cleaning chemicals.

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