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FAW trucks help take Mafate to a new level

An astute businessman by any measure, modest in nature but highly enterprising – this is Mahlaka Lukas Makuwa, owner and MD of Mafate Business Enterprises, primarily a mining supply company.

They supply ready-mix concrete, premix concrete, shortcrete, sand, stones and plaster mix to mines and contractors in Sekhukhune district, including Steelpoort, Burgersdorp, Jane Furse and Phalaborwa areas.

Lukas Makuwa started his career and businesses from an unlikely background

He first obtained a degree in IT at Tshwane University of Technology and went on to work for a number of years as a full-time IT technician at Eskom.

His vision, however, was to develop his own community and this drove him to grab an opportunity to bid for and obtain the canteen contracts for the Vantec Mine, and later the Tubatse Ferrochrome Mine.

It was from here that he saw further opportunities working with the mines, first as a contractor in removing stones to crush and sell on to other businesses in the area, and later setting up the batch plant for ready-mix and aggregate supply to the Lion mining plant. More recently he started concentrating on also supplying asphalt to Lion Mine II.

Today Mafute Enterprises is the holding company for a number of other businesses, including a laundry and cleaning business, and a Supaquick tyre franchise.

The holding company also owns 50% of ML Phadima Construction & Projects, which loads and hauls chrome slag, does dust suppression, and grades roads at the Lion smelter.

FAW trucks help take Mafate to a new level
The batch plant at Lukas Makuwa’s Lion II site.

His newest ‘partner’ helping him achieve his overall vision is FAW trucks, which he took on to test in September 2014. Convinced that FAW were the trucks best suited to his operations and needs, he has purchased various models into his fleet since then.

Today Lukas Makuwa (MD of Mafate Business Enterprises) runs nine FAW vehicles – four tippers of varying capacity and two mixers

Today Lukas Makuwa runs nine FAW vehicles – four tippers of varying capacity and two mixers, one with a 6cm³ and the other with an 8cm³ capacity. He monitors his transport operations on a cost-perhour basis and ensures wherever possible that they run at full capacity.

The models in the Mafute fleet include three FAW 35.340FC 8-cube mixers, two FAW 33.330FC 6-cube mixers, two 35.340FD 15-cube tippers, and one each of the FAW 33.340FD 18-cube and 20-cube tippers.

“I like the FAW trucks because they are strong, no-nonsense trucks. They are tough and work hard, like me,” Lukas laughs.

“My drivers keep log sheets which are monitored for efficiencies. As everyone knows, concrete is a perishable material. I certainly do not like dumping a load because of timing which goes wrong.”

The FAWs are run to legal capacity FAW trucks help take Mafate to a new level and up to 35 tons on shorter stretches, and Lukas is impressed by their torque and power. “FAW trucks are reliable and I can trust them to do the job. That’s why I’ve planned to purchase another five 10cm3 tippers for my asphalt operations,” he observes.

Asked what makes him successful, Lukas replies: ‘It’s all about keeping your finger on the pulse. I work long hours overseeing all the enterprises, but I have reliable supervisors in place as well. I routinely (every day) check in with each business and if anything needs changing, I rectify and correct the process.

“Regarding new business chances, I have my ear to the ground and I don’t hesitate if I believe something presents a worthwhile opportunity to explore.”

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa