France Maluleka has operated from an open plot at a relatively busy intersection in Ferndale, Randburg, since 1997, replacing and repairing exhaust pipes, silencer boxes and pipes and flanges. Prior to that, he had worked with his brother at a car-servicing workshop that no longer exists.
Completing some ten to fifteen jobs a month – ranging in price from R30 to R150 – Maluleka reports that he battles to afford refills for his oxygen and acetylene cylinders.
He adds that business is seasonal, with the rain and heat in summer bringing in more customers for exhaust repairs than in winter.
While the area has a high crime rate, Maluleka has never been attacked, and is greeted by name by local residents, rather than regarded with any suspicion.
The Metro Police have enforced a minimum five-metre distance from either pavement of the intersection to avoid reduced intersection visibility for drivers – again, something that all vendors related.
Maluleke, who works year-round on all days excluding Sundays, says he aims to find a fixed job at a workshop and eventually to go into private panelbeating, which he cannot do at his current location because of the noise levels.
Speaking to local BP Gas supplier Oil Heat Services, from which Maluleke buys his oxygen and acetylene, the owner confirms that about five streetside customers buy from the shop each month, compared with the thousand cylinders of liquefied petroleum gas it sells daily.
Silver Zito sells second-hand tyres on Beyers Naud