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From petrol attendant to owner

By Mpho Sibanyoni Business Reporter | Dec 20, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 73 ]

TWELVE years ago Elvis Sithagu was slogging it out as a petrol attendant. But today Sithagu, who hails from Venda, is the proud co-owner of two filling stations on the East Rand.

The BP filling stations are situated in Rabie Ridge and Ebony Park.

Sithagu said he started dreaming about owning a filling station while he was still in high school.

But he thought the dream would never materialise due to a lack of capital. His background as a boy from a destitute family in a rural area did not spark any hope.

Since his family had no other breadwinner, he helped sustain his siblings and mother by selling snacks at school.

"My financial situation was so tough that I wanted to drop out of high school. But my principal discouraged me from doing that," he said.

When he came to Johannesburg in search of a job his matric qualification helped Sithagu gain entry to a school for petrol attendants.

He said he finished the course as best performer in the class but could not get his certificate because he could not pay outstanding fees.

So he missed out on a recruitment programme the school ran.

When he finally secured a job in 1999 as a petrol attendant in Johannesburg, after nine months of unemployment, his life changed for the better.

Eleven months later he was promoted to cashier at the filling station.

A year later he secured a job at a filling station in Kensington, Johannesburg, as a cashier.

In 2002 he became cashier supervisor and continued to climb the ladder of success to become assistant manager of the filling station in 2003.

In 2006 he was appointed site manager at the filling station.

Sithagu said business opportunities started presenting themselves when he held senior positions.

"People started expressing a wish to invest in filling stations, partnering with me and giving me equity," he said.

In 2007 BP advertised an offer for a site in Rabie Ridge. He and three experienced filling station owners clinched the contract and obtained a bank loan. Their consortium also won a contract for the Ebony Park BP filling station.

Though the filling station started operating in August it was officially launched last week.

Sithagu said his aim was to grow his business while motivating his employees to follow in his footsteps.

- sibanyonim@sowetan.co.za

COMMENTS [ 73 ]

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WOW_ big up brother man'...

Dec 21, 2012 6:40 | 0 replies

@SOLUTIONS & oldlady12


so stop complaining about Zuma being a Pres without qualifications, when it suits you qualification is nt necessary when nt its different story

Dec 20, 2012 1:29 | 0 replies

EEEHHH...MAVENDA A LOYA JOH....O FIHLILE BJANG...LE BO CYRIL

Dec 20, 2012 1:24 | 0 replies

@oldlady12 & SOLUTIONS



racists are people like you, why did they target a less educated black person , while there are plenty of educated black people around, the guy does nt have even Gr12

Dec 20, 2012 1:23 | 0 replies

oldlady12
Solutions, Dandan is one of those racists who can never be satisfied. He will always find something wrong with everything, in other words, he's got to be miserable to be happy. This dude was not a gardener today and then co-owner tomorrow. He started at the bottom in 1999. Then he worked his way up through years and years to the top. Obviously his partners needed a black face, but they did not just pick a face out of the crowds. They picked one deserving the opportunity. That is what Black Economic Empowerment is all about, is it not? Taking the deserving people and giving them the opportunity to grow? I don't know how he expects the black man to get to the top if not in this kind of way. Maybe if it was a cadre, he would have been happy.
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I agree 100%, or he is unhappy that something like this did not happen with him.

Dec 20, 2012 1:19 | 0 replies

Dandan, colou.reds are not indigenious Africans?

Dec 20, 2012 1:17 | 0 replies

Dandan
the stat is 7% for blacks including coloreds,indians, africans however indigenious africans is 2%
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blahbllablahblah your source please, it is going to be difficult to comment your thumb through.

Dec 20, 2012 1:16 | 0 replies

Solutions, Dandan is one of those racists who can never be satisfied. He will always find something wrong with everything, in other words, he's got to be miserable to be happy. This dude was not a gardener today and then co-owner tomorrow. He started at the bottom in 1999. Then he worked his way up through years and years to the top. Obviously his partners needed a black face, but they did not just pick a face out of the crowds. They picked one deserving the opportunity. That is what Black Economic Empowerment is all about, is it not? Taking the deserving people and giving them the opportunity to grow? I don't know how he expects the black man to get to the top if not in this kind of way. Maybe if it was a cadre, he would have been happy.

Dec 20, 2012 1:15 | 0 replies

@SOLUTIONS

blahblahblah

the stat is 7% for blacks including coloreds,indians, africans however indigenious africans is 2%

Dec 20, 2012 1:8 | 0 replies

Dandan
blacks = 2% registered at JSE , when are we going to 25%, 50%, 75% etc when our brothers are sold for cheap prices
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I think you need to go and do some research and surprise yourself.

Dec 20, 2012 1:4 | 0 replies

ONEE
WHAT DID HE SAY SOLUTIONS?

I thought he explained where he was not sure and also explained how to get to that kind busines and tenders advertised, may be I missed it where he displayed racism....just following comments no offence
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read some more of his comments on all articles.

Dec 20, 2012 1:3 | 0 replies