Mara Phones Smartphone Assembly Plant Goes on Auction, SA’s 1st Smartphone Factory Bankrupt

Mara Phones Smartphone Assembly Plant Goes on Auction, SA’s 1st Smartphone Factory Bankrupt

  • South Africa's first smartphone assembly plant, Mara Phones, is up for auction following their financial failure
  • The factory's funders are hoping that the plant's employees have job security, as job creation was a goal of theirs
  • Mara Phones received many different forms of government support but was not able to be successful

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DURBAN - Mara Phones, South Africa's first smartphone factory, is up for auction. The assembly plant was established in 2019 and received government support, but has failed financially.

Mara Phones' funders took over the factory and put it up for auction in the hopes that it will be bought as a going concern, which would give the plant's employees job security. Job creation was one of the factory's goals when it was established.

There is also an option for buyers to purchase individual pieces of equipment from the factory if the plant as a whole is not sold, Business Insider reports.

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Mara Phones, smartphones, technology news, South Africa, Durban, auction, bankrupt, business news
The Mara Phones smartphone assembly plant is up for auction. Image: Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Support received by Mara Phones

Mara Phones was chosen to be the first company considered whenever a government department needed a smartphone supplier. This agreement was set to last until 2026. The smartphone factory was also granted an R100 million tax break.

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The assembly plant also received a greenfields investment worth R350 million, and in turn, the government decided to forego the potential revenue. A condition of the investment was that the factory had to use new equipment to assemble the smartphones.

This was part of the Section 12I tax scheme, which no longer exists. The scheme allowed businesses to be paid back up to 55% of their investment into property and machinery via a tax deduction, according to MyBroadband.

South Africans react to the Mara Phones auction

@fynwol asked:

"Is it a BEE or white-owned company? Tell us the truth please."

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@MelokuhleNjalo believes:

"I think it was cursed by calling it "Mara", who wants a phone called "But" (direct translation), but what?"

@JasonHol84 remarked:

"I'm sure all the bosses got nice shiny cars and big bonuses."

@EllisMaytham shared:

"If an audit is done you will find that all the board increased their salaries by 150 %."

@Cliff_Hadji believes:

"South African manufacturers will never compete with cheap imports."

Soon-Shiong gives back to birthplace, gives SA an R1 bn vaccine centre in Cape Town

Speaking of South African factories, Briefly News previously reported that Patrick Soon-Shiong, a South African-American billionaire, launched a vaccine manufacturing plant in Cape Town that is worth an estimated R1 billion.

Soon-Shiong is a qualified bioscientist and transplant surgeon who found a healthcare start-up network called NantWorks. ImmunityBio is one of the companies in NantWorks and produces Covid-19 vaccines.

At the new vaccine plant in Cape Town, ImmunityBio will produce Covid-19 vaccines to be distributed across South Africa. By 2025 the plant aims to produce a billion vaccine doses annually.

Source: Briefly News

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