Featuring Mduduzi Sokhela – Family and Community are his Priorities

Compass Secure was launched in January 2018 allowing Compass Medical Waste Services to bring their security needs in-house. According to the head of Compass Secure, Guy Crossley, this move enabled the company to hand pick their security guards and pay them the salaries they deserve.

Mduduzi Michael Sokhela became the Security Site Supervisor when Compass Secure began and this was a result of what he terms ‘good luck in disguise.’ If you meet Mduduzi you will realise that luck played a very small role and his considerate, respectful and fiercely moral outlook had a lot to do with his promotion from driver to site supervisor.

Mduduzi was born in Marianhill Hospital, KwaZulu-Natal in 1983. His mother, Zodwa Mkhize, had six children – three boys and three girls. Mduduzi has sadly lost his two brothers – one to political violence and one to HIV Aids. “It is very sad for a mother to lose a child and losing two has really taken its toll,’’ explains Mduduzi. “I support my mom as much as I can as she is a pensioner.’’

His father, a traditional Zulu man, has five wives and a total of 32 children and as a result Mduduzi’s mom was left to raise all six children on her own. When Mduduzi got to Grade 8 at Ntee High School in KZN, his mom asked him to please find a source of income to help support the family. Mduduzi’s life changed when he approached Mr Mark Du Vockish at McDonalds in Pinetown to ask him for a job. Mr Mark, which Mduduzi called him, offered him a gardening position at his home on a Saturday and Sunday.

“Saturdays and Sundays were my favourite days of the week. I got to spend time with Mr Mark, his wife Melanie, daughter Annamarie and son Mark ‘junior’. I was particularly close to Mark who was a similar age to me. He always got upset when it was time for me to go home,’’ says Mduduzi.

A year later Mr Mark and Melanie went to speak to Zodwa and asked her whether Mduduzi could live with them and attend Pinetown Boys High with Mark. Although Zodwa was anxious about Mduduzi coping with the differences between the two homes, it was an opportunity she could not deny her son.

“Mr Mark became the father figure I needed as a teenager. He was loving, patient and firm. I shared a room with Mark and at night Mr Mark would come sit between our two beds and read to us. If we had done something wrong, before reading, he would ask us if we had anything we wanted to tell him and then would sit patiently waiting for us to own up. More often than not, the owning up came from my side of the room! If someone had pushed Mark around at school, I had no problem pulling a punch to let them know that if they mess with one of us, they mess with both of us,” exclaimed Mduduzi.

“I wanted to hide under the covers when I was guilty of something, but it taught me the importance of honesty and taking responsibility for my actions.’’

“When Mark and I were in Grade 11, our worlds were turned upside down. Armed robbers invaded the house and Mr Mark did not stand back in protecting his family. One of the robbers shot him and he died tragically on the way to the hospital. Our lives have never been the same.’

“Melanie, Annamarie and Mark moved to family in Amsterdam and I moved back home. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of them and how our lives would have been so different if Mr Mark was still with us.”

“Mr Mark left me his car, which I still have today, and left me an inheritance which I bought two pieces of land in Mariannhill with – 480 and 507 square metres respectively. Before building a home, I lived in a wooden Wendy House on the property with my brother who was not well and later passed away.”

“Over time, I built a six bedroom home and four ‘cottages’ on the smaller plot. I have continued building and now have 13 ‘cottages’ on the bigger plot. All the ‘cottages’ are 3 x 3 metres which I rent out to people working in Mariannhill and living on farms some distance away. They spend the week in Mariannhill and go home on the weekends.”

After Mr Mark’s death, Mduduzi went on to finish matric at Phidangene High School in Lamontville, KZN. “I worked at Pick & Save retail outlet in Pinetown in the mornings and then travelled to Lamontville to do classes in the afternoon. My teacher, Mr Cele, gave me a lift home every evening. He also motivated me to stay focused. I have been very fortunate to have people looking out for me throughout my life.’’

Mduduzi completed his Code 14 drivers licence after he matriculated and got a job at Clover where he learnt so much. “I learnt how to operate a truck safely, how to go through the check list thoroughly, licensing, tyre pressure and when they need to be replaced, and so much more.’’

After two years at Clover, Mduduzi moved to Capital Air as a driver and travelled long distances. According to Mduduzi it was quite lonely but he got to see so many different places which was amazing… Zeerust, Mokopane, Polokwane, Thohoyandou, Middleburg, KwaMhlanga, Ogies, Ermelo, Springbok, Gauteng, Bloemfontein, Cape Town.

“By this stage in my life I had met my wife, Nonhlanhla, and wanted to spend more time at home, so I applied for a job with Barloworld. Unfortunately, the route allocations weren’t ideal and working on average four times a week wasn’t enough to cover the bills.’’

“I contacted Kerry from Kelly Industrial who had placed me at Clover and she put me onto Adcorp Blu who consulted to Compass. I was interviewed by Henry from Adcorp Blu and Vijay from Compass and started as a driver for Compass the very next day – 21 February 2017.”

“Being a people’s person, my favourite part of the job was interacting with the customer, and I think the customers appreciated my enthusiasm because I received lots of compliments which kept me motivated to always do my best.’’

“In November 2017, Guy Crossley had just joined Compass and as part of his induction, he had to accompany a driver on a route. Guy ended up coming with me to Pietermaritzburg and we got on very well. He was impressed with the way I carried out my responsibilities, dealt with the customers and, in turn, motivated that I become part of his Compass Secure team.’’

“I couldn’t believe my luck when I became the Security Site Supervisor. I love my work and the added responsibility that comes with it. I oversee 23 Compass Secure staff members and receive their daily reports at 6.00am and midday. I manage their rosters as well as the rosters for our 35 onsite staff at nine KZN DOH hospitals. I also issue the onsite staff with their PPE and PPC and do monthly audits to ensure that they are meeting our customers’ expectations. It is the best job I have ever had.’’

Mduduzi has three children, eight-year old Alwande, nine-year old Snqobile and 15 year old Lungelo. “My wife and children are my priority. I want to be make sure they always know their husband and father is there for them. I want to provide them with the best life I can.’’

Mduduzi plays a significant role in his community. He is involved in the Community Policing Forum which works closely with the police to keep their area safe. “The forum has a chairman, vice chair, secretary, six board members and 32 volunteers. We work out a roster to ensure that our streets are patrolled at night and we have introduced a whistle system. Every household has a whistle and if you hear a whistle being blown you immediately contact the forum member on duty and direct them to the home in trouble.’’

As a tribute to Mr Mark, Mduduzi plays a fatherly role to a number of children in the community – 21 to be exact. “When I get home in the evenings they are waiting for me. We spend the next hour playing and I always fit in some bible study. They are back on Saturdays and Sundays. It makes me so happy to have a home filled with laughing children. I am sure Mr Mark would be proud of me,’’ concludes Mduduzi.

Mduduzi Sokhela