Supported Employment Enterprises strives to empower those with disabilities and afford them the chance to contribute to the country’s economy

Over the past seven decades, Supported Employment Enterprises (SEE) – formerly called Sheltered Employment Factories (SEF) has evolved into an organisation that is arguably the largest provider of work opportunities to people with disabilities.

The SEE has come a long way since being founded after the Second World War through the 1948 cabinet memorandum under the SA National Defence Force.

The government of the time established 13 factories called Sheltered Employment Schemes and traded under the name, Service Products. The aim was to provide jobs to ex-service men who could not secure employment in the labour market due to regulatory and access barriers that prevented them from actively participating in the economy.

The focus of the factories was to produce hospital linen, protective clothing, woodwork, metalwork and upholstery for various sectors, including education, police and health. Until 1999, the schemes enjoyed preferential procurement status from government departments, which saw them increase their employment of people with disabilities to 3 000 in 13 factories across SA.

This ensured that all school and office furniture as well as hospital linen was procured from the factories, unless they were unable to accept the order due to capacity constraints.

Management and governance
The factories are currently administered under the Department of Labour, reporting through the Public Employment Service programme. All the management and administration staff of the factories are employed by the Department of Labour for the sole purpose of managing the factories.

The factories are governed in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and audited by the Auditor-General of SA. The SEE receives a financing allocation appropriated by parliament for the purposes of funding operations.

In 2007, the Minister of Labour approved the development of a turnaround strategy (business case) to define the legal status of the factories to ensure that the factories operate as viable sustainable enterprises. The SEF business case and implementation plan was approved by the Director-General in February 2013. The Employment Services Act No. 4 of 2014 chapter 6, section 42(1) confers a legal form to the SEF by making provision for the establishment of SEE.


Currently, our physical infrastructure consists of 12 production factories located in seven of the nine provinces of SA with large warehousing capacity ranging from 1 000 m2 to 6 000 m2. This allows us to produce products in large volumes and provide customers with storage on-site until such time that they are ready to take receipt of their goods.

We are currently in the process of building showrooms in all our factories to ensure that our customers can view, touch and experience our products before making a purchasing decision.

Success stories
There are major success stories to share over the seven decades of the entity, such as the manufacturing and delivery of more than 250 000 school desks to in excess of 500 schools in Limpopo and Mpumalanga in 2013.

The Western Cape Department of Health has also used us as a preferred supplier of their hospital linen and patient garments for more than 10 years. The Department of Labour also procured uniforms for in excess of 1 500 labour inspectors during 2009.

These are some of the major achievements that we pride ourselves in and we are looking to build on the past as we move forward with a new brand identity, which we will be soon introducing.

Our product range has evolved over the years with a transition from bulky solid wooden furniture to modern eclectic furniture. We have been able to do this without compromising on quality. We manufacture school, office and home furniture.

Our textiles product range includes quality products that are used in hospitals across the country and can withstand use for more than 10 years. We manufacture hospital linen, nurses uniforms, doctors coats, protective clothing, blankets and theatre wear.


Factory locations and Contacts
197 Nelson Mandela Street, Universitas
Tel: +27 (0)51 444 1022
Products: Wood and textiles

Cape Town (Epping) 
Greenville Avenue, Epping Industria
Tel: +27 (0)21 531 3058
Products: Wood and upholstery

Cape Town (N’dabeni)
Inyoni Street, N’dabeni
Tel: +27 (0)21 531 6545
Products: Steel, wood and textiles

216 Balfour Road, Jacobs
Tel: +27 (0)31 461 3862
Products: Wood, steel and textiles

East London
1 Electron Road, Gately
Tel: +27 (0)43 736 2248
Products: Wood and textiles

18 Hippo Street, Stuttaford, Springfield
Tel: +27 (0)11 683 4356
Products: Wood and upholstery

Johannesburg (Rand)
17 Laub Street, Village Main, Selby
Tel: +27 (0)11 334 9739
Products: Textiles

Mint Building, Harrison Street
Tel: +27 (0)53 831 1667
Products: Steel, wood and textiles

387 Camp Building, Oribey Village
Tel: +27 (0)33 386 2211
Products: Wood and textiles

Port Elizabeth
154 Haupt Street, Sidwell
Tel: +27 (0)41 453 2021
Products: Textiles

5 Promoso Road, Potch Industria
Tel: +27 (0)18 293 0660
Products: Steel

Tshwane (Silverton)
221 Moreleta Street, Silverton
Tel: +27 (0)12 843 7300

Tel: +27 (0)12 843 7300
Email: [email protected]