In just two years of operation, the Granfield Chicken Farm Abattoir has managed to increase its capacity from producing only 9 000 chickens per day in 2012 to a staggering 130 000 chickens per day.
"We regard this visit here as being our celebration of freedom and progress with you, the community of the Reitz. It is a day for us to share the good story that you have to share with the rest of the country.
"This is the story of how you were able to take a difficult situation, like the economic recession, and turn it around into an economic and social success," President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
The President visited the Granfield Chicken Farm Abattoir - a job creation project site paving the way forward for the Free State community of Reitz.
The project, co-funded by the Department of Labour through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the Industrial Development Co-operation (IDC), will see almost R130 million pumped into creating jobs and rural growth within the province.
He said South Africans must seize every economic opportunity they can and utilize government support programmes, to create a better life for themselves and their communities.
The abattoir has also created 1 047 jobs for locals from Reitz and communities nearby.
"This is great news for many families in the area. Another good story ... is that workers here at Granfield own 23% in the business.
"The story of Granfield Chicken project proves that South Africa is a much better place to live in now. There are more opportunities that did not exist before, especially for black people," President Zuma said.
He added that the abattoir project had been innovative and had not relied on government to begin rollout. He explained that government stepped in with funding and technical assistance at a later stage. "However, the increased production is not the secret to the project's success. What makes this project a great success is that the employees are also beneficiaries of a 23.1 percent stake in the abattoir," said Granfield's Managing Director Sas Kasselman.
"This makes the project's success a personal success for the beneficiaries as well. It creates a social responsibility amongst employees."
Skills development is also a crucial factor behind the operational success of the abattoir. Through its employment training and development programme, workers at the abattoir are trained and promoted continuously. "Job growth and skills development sharing is extremely crucial to the growth of any project of this magnitude. We ensure that employees on various levels are trained, and they in turn share their training and transfer skills learnt to their fellow workers. It is a continuous learning environment at the abattoir," said Kasselman. One such employee, who has transcended the programme in just a year and a half, is Adolphina Mojatau. The forty-year old, mother of two, formerly from Bloemfontein, today is a quality supervisor at the abattoir.
"I am very proud of what I have achieved and I am grateful to be able to work on a project that ensures the best quality for our consumers."
Mojatau explains a typical day at the abattoir, means going through almost 50 000 chickens during the day shift, and again another 50 000 on the night shift.
"My team makes sure that every chicken that enters our receiving bay undergoes an anti-mortem. This is where we check that the chickens have no diseases, and they are healthy for consumer consumption. It is a tough job, but we have to ensure that South Africans get the best quality product on the shelves," she said proudly.
To date Mojatau has completed various training programmes for Health and Safety, Food Safety Management, Hazard Training, Meat Inspection and Examination, Internal Audit and Admin. Due to her success, she is also an Internal Training Officer, who shares her story of growth with new employees at the abattoir. "In such a short time, I have been promoted three times. This is not a company that one enters as a general worker and stays put for years at that level. The opportunity for growth is endless. That is what motivates me, and allows me to inspire others working here," said Mojatau.
According to Mojatau, many South Africans, especially those in the rural areas do not know much about the poultry industry, and the opportunities it can create.
"Government is providing so many opportunities, but people cannot sit back and wait for a job to fall into their laps, they must be active and open to new challenges," she says. Today Granfield Chicken Farm Abattoir supplies to local and neighbouring markets and to national stores, including Pick 'n Pay and Shoprite.