The Zululand Chamber Business Foundation (ZCBF) was established in 1995. One of its ancillary projects, the Downstream Aluminium Pilot Project (DAPP) was established in 2000, and the first sod for building the site to launch this effort, turned on 26 June 2001. This initiative prompted the department of trade and industry to also contribute to the aluminium industry and on the 26 July 2002, the Downstream Aluminium Centre for Technology (DACT) launched when Laurie Steenkamp, the DTI's Technology Transfer and Technology Promotions Director officially handed over a cheque to the value of R2.5 million as the DTI's first contribution towards the centre.
The biggest portion of this funding, was utilised on establishing the customised building, equipping the facility and obtaining patterns and dies for the manufacture of the range of cast aluminium garden furniture, architectural fittings, balustrades, filigree work, corner brackets, lamps poles and light fittings. The Downstream Aluminium Pilot Project (DAPP) was officially launched in July 2002, with the main objective to assist potential entrepreneurs from local and emerging communities with the establishment and management of their own manufacturing enterprises from infancy through to ultimate independence. The incubator has learnt some valuable lessons during the course of its operations. Although the vision and mission has remained the same over time, the more specific aspects are adjusted according to the changes in the environment and the new situations that each year brings.
DACT is registered as an independent legal entity in terms of Section 21 of the Act in 2005, with an independent and voluntary board of directors acting as custodians. Seven staff members are employed specifically to assist clients and provide support. DACT is registered with the Department of Social Development as a Public Benefit Organisation.