A world leader in bulk material handling solutions Martin Engineering has celebrated its 20th anniversary of growth across the African continent. The company, which works with mining and mineral processing companies to improve safety, efficiency and productivity, first entered Africa in November 2003 with the acquisition of South African business, Scorpio Conveyor Products. 

Two decades later Martin Engineering has grown significantly, with employee numbers increasing 10-fold to almost 200 people, and a customer base that now spans 10 countries and a range of industries across Africa. The business also has plans for further growth thanks to an ambitious team of technical experts and an innovative range of products that deliver cleaner, safer and more productive materials handling.

Martin Engineering, South Africa GM Fran van de Berg with Group CEO Robert Nogaj

Substantial investments

Joining the 20th anniversary celebrations was global CEO Robert Nogaj who travelled from the USA to visit Martin’s regional headquarters in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga to meet employees and business partners who have played a key role in Martin’s success.

 Robert Nogaj says, “Over the past two decades we have made substantial investments in our production facilities and introduced new technologies that have helped our African business to grow and evolve.  Yet the most important investment we have made is in supporting and developing our people, fostering talent and promoting diversity in the workplace. 

Personal development

“This is no better evidenced than by the recent appointment of Fran van der Berg as General Manager for Africa.  What makes Fran’s achievement even more remarkable is that she began as a temporary member of staff in our marketing team 12 years ago and has proved herself in a number of roles before becoming General Manager.  It’s great to see such personal development and we hope her achievement will inspire many others to aspire to leadership roles, regardless of their gender or background.”

Fran says,“It is a real honour to take up the role of General Manager for Martin Engineering Africa as we celebrate 20 successful years here.  Our business has brought numerous innovations to the African market that have helped our customers to run cleaner operations, improving productivity as well as safety.  I am proud of the sustained growth we have achieved by providing quality products and technical expertise, the way we have empowered our people to support their development and, above all, the contribution we have made to improving health and safety in the industry.”

True safety culture

Martin is among the engineering firms in South Africa that have achieved ISO45001 (health and safety management) accreditation, reflecting the company’s commitment to maintaining high safety standards and fostering a true safety culture.  One highlight of Martin Africa’s annual calendar is the ‘Safety Olympics’ where teams of employees across the business take part in safety related games and compete for prizes.

The team is especially proud to have achieved B-BBEE Level 2 in South Africa, demonstrating the significant steps taken to promote black economic empowerment, through training programs and an approach to community development that prioritizes the employment and support of local people in each operating location.

Johanne Khumalo of Martin Engineering Africa

Huge positive impact

For example, Johanne Khumalo, based in Emalahleni, started with Martin Engineering in 2006 as a Service Technician and was subsequently promoted to the position of Training Facilitator.  Since taking on the new role he has made a huge positive impact on the development of others: “It’s great to be able to use the skills and experiences I have gained as a serviceman to help to improve the expertise of others within the company and also our customers. 

“Working at Martin Engineering has given me opportunities I could only have dreamed about with other employers, and I’m fortunate to be making such a contribution to the company and colleagues success.”

Strength in diversity

Robert Whetstone, Martin’s Area Vice President for Europe, Middle East, Africa & India, who also took part in the 20-year celebrations, said that the firm’s involvement in Africa has brought huge benefits to Martin Engineering globally.

 “In Africa we have a team of engineering professionals who have been able to export their specialist knowledge – along with new ways of working and their characteristic can-do approach – to benefit customers in other parts of the region and around the world.  This is another demonstration that there is great strength in the diversity and empowerment of our people and that ultimately, we are better together.”


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