The most famous car guard on the corner of Jorissen and Bertha Streets in Braamfontein, no longer wants to be on that beat any longer. 48 year old Patrick Ndlovu has endured all weather conditions from the incredibly cold to the scotching hot for the last 10 years.
Despite his commitment to this ‘job’ for a decade, Ndlovu has little to show for it apart from his face full of sorrow and troubles.
The divorced father of two teenagers based in Cape Town, says ‘’the initial hope of making a better life in Johannesburg has faded right in front of me”.
Ndlovu says that on a good day, especially towards the end of the month, he makes about R200-R250 a day as most people give him about R5 per car. On a normal day he makes between R75–R100 as motorists give him an average of R1-R2. His life and that of his family depends entirely on the moods and generosity of the motorists who visit the University of the Witwatersrand and buildings around the campus. [pullquote]If he could raise enough money, he would catch the first bus home.[/pullquote]
Ndlovu spends his income on R500 rent he pays to live in a flat he shares with other people in the Johannesburg CBD. The rest he spends on food. Ndlovu says; ‘’I buy cooked meals every day because I cannot afford to buy monthly groceries.” He says the other reason he will not risk buying groceries is that he is afraid his flatmates would steal it.
Ndlovu says most motorists respect him for the service he offers because he makes sure that their cars and portable possessions like phones and laptops are always safe. He claims that despite the help of the police cameras erected all over Braamfontein, he also fights with trouble-makers at his post. However, he says there are motorists who -treat badly him by yelling insults at him for no reason and leav without paying.
Patrick’s work is also acknowledged and appreciated by other security officers in the vicinity. Lesley Mathonsi, a security officer contracted by the University of the Witwatersrand, says; “Patrick is doing a good job as university’s clients hardly complain about him.” Mathonsi says Ndlovu is reliable and trustworthy because he is always there from 8am to 5pm.
Ndlovu says if he could raise enough money, he would catch the first bus home. He says; ‘’I have been suffering for more than 10 years in the streets of Jo’burg’’.
Patrick came to Johannesburg in 2000 after a divorce from his wife in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape. Later in the same year, he was contracted with by City Parks as a general worker. After few months of working there, he and his colleagues embarked on an illegal strike. They were all found guilty and dismissed during the disciplinary hearings.
With no luck of finding another job, he started guarding cars on the streets of Braamfontein in 2002.