Frans’ 45-year journey of growth with Rand Aid

When Frans Mpete started working at Rand Aid Association, he was an energetic 20 year old. Forty-five years later, he is still working tirelessly for the non-profit organisation – itself a whopping 117 years old.

Frans stood proud on August 20, 2020, when CEO of Rand Aid Peter Quinn presented him with his 45-year long service award and shared details of his interesting career with the small audience, which this year was limited to main award recipients only in line with current coronavirus protocols.

A resident of Lombardy East, just a short distance from Rand Aid’s head office in Lyndhurst, Frans joined the organisation in 1975 as a gardener. Two years later, he was promoted to supervisor and five years after that, took responsibility for the mail and other deliveries.

“In those days, Rand Aid did not have a vehicle so Frans did all his deliveries by bicycle,” said Peter.

In 1989, when Frans was in his early 30s, Rand Aid was instrumental in him obtaining his driver’s licence and he has been a driver for the organisation ever since. Before being transferred to head office in 1998 – where he has remained for the past 22 years, he would ferry residents of Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge retirement village to nearby shopping malls and hospitals.

“Frans is a very responsible and reliable worker who, in the time we have worked together, has never had a bad driving report, been late for work or ever let me down,” says his supervisor Erica Woodward.

Married, with one child, Frans today know the streets of Johannesburg and Pretoria like the back of his hand.

In total, 47 employees were recognised for their long service this year. Apart from Frans, two 25-year awards were given, three 20-year awards, 11 10-year awards and 30 five-year awards.

In addition, four people who are part of the Wedge Gardens’ team were honoured for 10, 15 and 20 years of service.

25-year awards

Receiving his 25-year service award was Samuel Masindi, a security guard at Thembalami Care Centre. In all that time, the dedicated, loyal employee has never been late for work! The second 25-year award went to Sizeka Makhubele, a security guard at Inyoni Creek retirement village. Sizeka prides himself on the relationships he has built with the residents and staff and is known for his great sense of humour.

20-year awards

Laetitia Goosen, the deputy manager of Tarentaal retirement village, worked at Wedge Gardens as a therapist for many years before taking up her current position in October 2016. Always cheerful, Laetitia says her time at Tarentaal has enabled her to learn to new skills and has been immensely fulfilling.

Another deputy manager who was been with Rand Aid for two decades is Thornhill Manor’s Jackie Scott, who started out as the personal assistant to then executive director or Rand Aid Leon Ghavalas. Jackie was instrumental in instituting maternity leave benefits at the organisation. In 2003, when phase one of Thornhill Manor was completed, she requested a transfer there and has been a vital part of the village ever since.

Heading up Cookchill, Rand Aid’s in-house catering division, is Steve Burton, whose 20 years of service have been characterised by the preparation of around 35 500 meals each month. Trained in the UK, Steve’s achievements are legendary – including the fact that regardless of any emergency that has come his way, not a day has gone by without residents receiving their meals from Cookchill.

Other awards

Ten-year awards went to Ntuthuzelo Goso, Dukie Lekoloane, Thivhonali Mabasha, Vhelaphi Machimane, Epulane Mbewe, Magezi Mbhungele, Hopewell Mdulashe, Hennie Mostert, Khanyiso Ndamase, Thamsanqa Ningi and Siboniso Mkhize.

Awards for five years’ service went to Helena Bezuidenhout, Debbie Christen, Busisiwe Dhladhla, Amanda Diener, Godfrey Hlongwani, Raisibe Ledwaba, Mampai        Lephalala, Lusani    Mabulele, Ramadimetja Maja, Raesibe          Maloka, Craig Maltman, Sekgokong Matshidi, Sipho Mazibuko, Khumbuzile Meyiwa, Florence Mhlongo, Sanzile Mkwebane, Sibongile Mohale, Nomsa Molefe, Eric Monyela, Nkete Mphahlele, Tshilidzi Mphephu, Mashudu Nembaye, Thinawanga Netshifhefhe, Madala Ngobeni, Refilwe Sedibe, Phuti Sefamela, Neeri Stroebel, Jenny Tonkin, Luambo Tshikalange and Vutivi Mabunda.

Wedge Gardens team members who were recognised for their long service are Damien Lawson and Tommie Woest for 10 years, Andy Brummer for 15 and Richard Ogilvie for 20.

For four-and-a-half decades, Frans Mpete (65) has been part of the Rand Aid Association team.

Rand Aid CEO Peter Quinn presents Sizeka Makhubele with his 25-year service award.

Samuel Masindi received his 25-year service award from Rand Aid in August.         

Rand Aid CEO Peter Quinn  (second from left) with long service recipients who between them have 155 years of service: Frans Mpete (45 years), Jackie Scott (20 years), Laetitia Goosen (20 years), Sizeka Makhubele (25 years), Steve Burton (20 years) and Samuel Masindi (25 years).

Steve Burton (right), the head of Rand Aid’s Cookchill, receives his 20-year long service award from Rand Aid CEO Peter Quinn.