Five years ago, Oryx Tanning were sold to an Indonesian group for R32 million (US$3.06 million). Now Chris van der Merwe, his son André and son-in-law Grant Hoffman, have bought the company back from the liquidators.

For ‘a bit’ over R2 million ($191,067) they have regained the tannery plus new buildings and equipment but without the original abattoir.

Oasis Tanning, which is the sons’ venture, has been moved into the Oryx premises from Bronkhorstspruit and the combined businesses are trading as Oasis.

The core business remains ostrich but they also undertake gameskin tanning and the Oryx deal included a new plant which was installed for crocodile skin tanning.

There are at least 15 ostrich tanneries in South Africa but only around seven major crocodile tanneries worldwide. On the subject of crocodiles, Oasis say: ‘We have the equipment. Give us a little time to settle down and we’ll get into it.’