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A Fitting Partnership changes lives


A programme to empower small business enterprises in KwaZulu-Natal and create employment for unemployed graduates was exactly what Estcourt-born entrepreneur Sandile Sithole was looking for.
The Dunlop Container Tyre Fitment Centre initiative is an enterprise development programme in partnership with Ithala Development Finance Corporation’s Small Business Growth Enterprise division and Sumitomo Rubber SA.
The tyre fitment centres provide opportunities for unemployed youth and women in townships and rural areas to be trained and mentored in tyre sales and repair.

Sandile Sithole, owner of Wembezi Tyres in Estcourt with his wife and partner, Felicity Sithole and Themba Thabede, owner of TMT Tyres & Repairs in Ezakheni, near Ladysmith.

As a beneficiary of the programme, 29-year-old Sithole said he was delighted when he was contacted to be part of the programme as it is totally in keeping with his drive to create jobs.
“My tyre container started operating at the beginning of this year and it is such an honour to be part of this programme,” said Sithole.
Wembezi Tyres, owned by Sithole, currently affords three people a living. Sithole said he had personally trained all his staff and equipped them with the necessary skills to ensure that the work undertaken in his container is executed to perfection.
Sithole obtained a diploma in Mechanical Engineering from the Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi, south of Durban. Thereafter, he worked in Mpumalanga at a power station before deciding to follow his dream and start his own business.
In addition to Wembezi Tyres, Sithole owns Wembezi Glass Fitters which he established in 2012.
“I have always wanted to do things differently and stand out from the rest. Most people say I’m unconventional and I find that it works for me.”
“I have a great passion for advancing my community and the best way I know to achieve this is by doing my part in creating employment for my fellow brothers and sisters,” added Sithole.
The three-year partnership between Ithala and Sumitomo will see a minimum of 25 containerised tyre fitment centres being established across KZN and 100 jobs created.
One of the primary motivations for Sithole joining the programme was to expand his knowledge of the tyre industry, extend his business operations all over KZN and be a recognised brand.
“The programme forced me to work on my business plan and presentation skills and I also learnt how to manage various aspects of the business, including stock-taking and administrative duties to ensure the business runs smoothly,” he said.
Sithole is the first person in his family to start his own business. He draws inspiration from everyone who started with nothing to making a success of their lives and who continue to push themselves towards reaching greater heights.
He is grateful to Dunlop and Ithala for their continued support towards empowering the youth to make a success of their lives.
“It’s definitely not easy but I encourage young and aspiring entrepreneurs to keep believing in themselves and go after their dreams,” he concluded.
For more information on the Dunlop Container Tyre Fitment Centre programme and how you can participate call Hennel Nkonjela on +27 31 242 1480 or email

Also visit or or call 031 907 8911.


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