Umlazi is the second largest township in South Africa, the largest township in KZN with the highest number informal workshops operating from home, street corners and mobile. Within the eThekwini Municipality Motor mechanic industry has not been prioritised.
Spani Sendlovu Trading was started by two friends Bongani Ndlovu and Mbongeni Hlongwane while they were studying at swinton FET College. Soon after the formation of the business, partners’ had disagreements and the partnership was dissolved. Mbongeni decided to continue with the business by focusing on fixing cars (mechanics).
In 2008 he started working at home permanently specializing on diesel and lasted models, such as Quantum, corolla (D4D) Toyota Hilux (D4D), Yaris and Ford focus. He started with about 15 customers and one assistant.
Challenges he encounter is that customers expect their cars to be fixed without delays, not having proper premises to operate became a huge obstacle. With technology being constantly improved in vehicles it has become a lot harder to work on cars without having proper equipment. Most cars require diagnostic equipment, without this it affects the time it takes to fix a vehicle.
According to Mbongeni, he believes that mechanics needs to learn from others to gain knowledge of the industry and they must put 100% in whatever they do and do things right at the first time. The industry requires tools such as diagnosis machine and the issue of premises is also a big challenge and sharing of information is the key in developing the industry other than trainings.
Mbongeni highlighted that the program has made him realize how their industry is important and how as mechanics they play a role of alleviating poverty and creating employment. He joined the Filpro Enterprise Development program In May 2012. Having participated in all trainings offered by Filpro has helped him in changing the way he runs his business on a day to day basis.
He currently can accommodate about 15 vehicles which include engine repair, service, disc brake, clutch and lining a day and employs 3 people.
He has gained confidence and professionalism through the help of FILPRO. Mbongeni says having NGK, GUD & SAFELINE showing passion and support for mechanics working in townships has brought light and hope. Mbongeni is hoping through the help of FILPRO to have a formal workshop & spare shop running and being a member of the RMI.
Spani trading has been able secure the premises and started building proper workshop structures, bought diagnosis tool and increased the employment from one employee to three employees. He has learned that customers are important (Customer is king). The new structure being erected will have a section fixing cars (workshop) as well as a spare-shop that will feed parts to the workshops but also allow the public to purchase spare parts as well.
|Pictures Before – Mbongeni fixing cars in his yard|
|New Premises where Mbongeni will be Operating|