Rand Aid celebrates its employees’ long and dedicated service

Rand Aid Association (RAA) recently held its annual Long Service Awards to celebrate its loyal and dedicated employees.

40 years’ service

Mercia Sekgarametso was awarded for a phenomenal 40 years’ service at RAA’s Tarentaal retirement village.

Mercia started working for RAA at the Bramley Complex in 1981 as a care worker, at the age of 27.

In 1983, she underwent training to become an enrolled nursing assistant. During this time, new units were being built at the Bramley Complex and Mercia was asked to become the village nurse.

In 1995, the Bramley Complex closed and Mercia was offered a job at Tarentaal retirement village as an enrolled nursing assistant, under the supervision of sister Audrey James. She has assisted many other sisters since then.

Mercia enjoys working with Tarentaal’s residents and is loved by them all.

Reaching this milestone is a very special occasion for Mercia and RAA as a whole. It is a superlative demonstration of her loyalty and dedication to the organisation. She is certainly a valued member of the team.

30 years’ service

Ayanda Matthews from RAA’s Head Office, Esme Erasmus from Thornhill Manor retirement village and Stella Dibotelo from Elphin Lodge retirement village were all congratulated on 30 years’ service to RAA.

Ayanda was employed as a professional nurse at SANCA Wedge Gardens in October 1991, under matron Myles. In August 1993, she was promoted to assistant matron at Wedge Gardens and Ken Corder and, in February 1994, was promoted to the position of matron. She took over the management of Wedge Gardens and Ken Corder in December 2002. 

In April 2004, she took on the role of training and compliance manager and moved to RAA’s Head Office, under Linda Thompson. In 2006, she was promoted to deputy general manager: compliance and social react and, in 2008, leapt at the opportunity to be promoted to the position of general manager: compliance and social react, in charge of Tarentaal, Thembalami Care Centre, Wedge Gardens and the full human resources function. A position she still holds today.

Ayanda has had a sterling career at RAA, as is evident in her various promotions, most after only two or three years in a position. Her ‘go-getter’ attitude and mix of matron and management skills over the past 30 years have taken her to one of the senior positions in RAA.

She is known for her stance on human rights and her ability to debate a wide range of topics, without taking offense.

Esme started working in the accounts department at Bramley Complex in 1991, before becoming deputy manager.

When Bramley closed, she was transferred to Wedge Gardens/Ken Corder and Reid as deputy manager and later promoted to manager. A few years later, she applied for the position of Tarentaal village manager and, in about 2006, applied for the Thornhill Manor manager position.

“I have many good memories of the fetes we had at Bramley, Tarentaal and Thornhill. Due to Covid-19, we unfortunately had to cancel the Thornhill fete in 2020 and 2021, but we hope things will change for the better soon.

“Each place that I have worked for in RAA has been inspiring. It has been a pleasure working with all of the residents and employees,” says Esme.

Stella started working at the Bramley Complex and moved to RAA’s new building eight years later. She was then transferred to Elphin Lodge retirement village as a cleaner in the admin office.

“My years at Elphin Lodge have been good ones – the parties and events have all been fun. It’s a busy environment and I’ve learnt a lot about our elders over the years. I appreciate the chance I was given. Elphin Lodge is my home and my book of happiness is full,” says Stella.

20 years’ service

Laurentia Jooste and Vivian Maphosa from Ron Smith Care Centre, Joyce Mabule from Head Office and Tanya Switala from Elphin Lodge all celebrated 20 years’ long service.

Laurentia, who was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, started her nursing career in 1979. She has worked in many fields, throughout the country, but always returned to geriatric care. Her passion is working for the elderly. 

Laurentia moved to Johannesburg 21 years ago, but her family still live in the Eastern Cape.

Laurentia works on Ron Smith Care Centre’s River Lodge 3 wing, which is home to RAA’s residents living with advanced dementia. “The residents are my family,” she says.

Vivian, who started working at RAA as a cottage domestic, remembers cleaning paint off the windows of the new head office building when RAA moved from Bramley. She was promoted to kitchen supervisor, employed by Stafflink for three years, and then employed directly by RAA in 2000.

“I like my job. I enjoy the challenge of resolving food service issues and making an unhappy resident smile again. My happy place is when the residents are happy and have good comments about the food,” she says.

Joyce’s first contact with RAA was through a labour broker, Stafflink, as a domestic reliever in Ron Smith Care Centre’s kitchen in 1996.

She moved to Tarentaal in 1998, where she worked for two years. While at Tarentaal, she would relieve domestic worker Stella Dibotelo at Head Office.

Barbara Brooks, the personal assistant to then CEO Leon Ghavalas, spotted Joyce’s potential and how quickly she grasped concepts. Barbara taught her how to make copies, use the franking machine and do some computer work. She started relieving Ron Cross at the Head Office switchboard, whenever needed.

Ronelle van der Werken trained Joyce on the computer and showed her how to navigate Time Q, the time and attendance programme RAA used at the time.

In April 2001, Joyce was permanently employed by RAA as a clerk. There was no task too hard for her. She made tea and cleaned the office, assisted Robbie Mitchell in accounts and worked with Ronelle van der Werken on time and attendance.

In 2006, she attended a basic bookkeeping course and did very well. At this time, she was only doing administrative tasks. She took over the time and attendance portfolio at a very difficult time, as the programme was old and the number of employees was rising.

Joyce has proven herself over the years. She excels in human resources policies and is not very popular with the managers when she calls them out for flouting rules and procedures.

She knows almost all of RAA’s employees, including the temps, and can be relied on at all times. When the job demands it, she can be found at the office on weekends, just to catch up, without any expectation of remuneration.

Tanya was employed byRAA in August 2001, to sell units at newly developed Thornhill Manor.

“My manager Dawn Chernis and I worked out of a prefab site office selling units off plan to interested buyers. Hardhats were part of our everyday uniform. For the longest time, if we needed to do any computer work, we had to go to Head Office where they had a computer set up for us,” she says.

Dawn then became the personal assistant to then CEO Leon Ghavalas. When he left, she became former CEO Rae Brown’s personal assistant.

“After my youngest daughter Kirstynn was born, I told Mr Bown that I did not want to return to Head Office and that I missed the busy village office and contact with residents. When I returned from maternity leave, I set off to the brand new Inyoni Creek office where I helped set up filing systems and whatever else was needed in a new office. I had already set up the Thornhill office years before, so it was easy for me to help out. Once that was set up, I moved to Tarentaal’s office to help with admin work as the village was short-staffed. 

“Months later, I was moved to Elphin Lodge to assist in reception and with sales, and to manage all the village aspects relating to the refurbishments of the units for sale,” she says.

Still situated at Elphin Lodge, Tanya loves the interaction she has with residents. “I have my favourite residents in the village and I always enjoy seeing them when they walk into reception.”

15 years’ service

Rebecca Nkabi from SANCA Wedge Gardens, Winnie Mapekula from Head Office and Hannie Combrink from Inyoni Creek celebrated 15 years’ service.

Rebecca started working as a cashier at SANCA Wedge Gardens, a position she still holds today.

At the time, Wedge Gardens was situated at head office’s premises and Rebecca thus assisted in the move to new premises in Lyndhurst (which was a sight to see). Over the years, Rebecca has empowered herself in various ways, such as getting her driver’s license and buying her first car. 

Rebecca is the most even-tempered person her colleagues have ever seen and she is an extremely loyal employee. She is positive, always smiling and never involves herself in negativity. Rebecca also has good interpersonal skills with her superiors, staff and patients. She handles telephone enquiries patiently, and will repeat the same information over and over if needed. She remains cool, calm and collected and is no doubt an asset to RAA.

Winnie started working at RAA, through an employment agency, as a reliever for a cleaner who was going on four-months’ maternity leave. She had worked with Steve Burton, RAA’s catering manager, at Kenridge Hospital, where she was a kitchen assistant. She must have made an impression on her boss because he told her to try and get a job at RAA.

When the head office cleaner came back work, Winne had to go back home. After a few days, she was called to relieve Marinda Looyen for a week at Head Office reception. Then she was called for a job as a cleaner at RAA’s Cookchill.

On her first day at Cookchill, before she could even put on her uniform, RAA’s Zabeth Zuhlsdorff, the general manager: services and advance division, came in and said she has to work at Head Office. Head Office’s cleaner swopped positions with her and she worked as a cleaner from December 2005 to August 2006.

During this time she worked well, was eager to assist in different areas and had such a good manner of approach that visitors even commented on her good service. In September 2006, RAA gave her an opportunity to work as a receptionist. In August 2007, RAA sent her on a professional receptionist and personal assistant course at Damelin, which she completed with success.

In August 2008, she completed a skills programme in office administration, also at Damelin; and in August 2009 did a short programme in the fundamentals of Microsoft Office and passed.

She has done very well in her position and is loved by most of the people she encounters. She is helpful and assists in other areas in the office. She has been an asset in her position and RAA is grateful for the dedication and effort she has put in.

Hannie was employed as an enrolled nurse at Ron Smith Care Centre in 2006. She then completed the bridging course, became a professional nurse and applied successfully to become the village sister at Inyoni Creek in August 2007. Hannie has been working at Inyoni Creek ever since and is much loved by all the residents for her nursing skills and her happy, positive disposition.

She always has a smile and a laugh ready, which is good for residents’ mental and physical health. Residents report that just going to the clinic makes them feel better.

Hannie has the rare ability to make a sick person feel really cared for, to know that they are in good hands and that she will ensure that they get better. She instils confidence.

10 years’ service

  • Thinavhuyo Nzeru
  • Robert Mkawane
  • Soza Ngunyule
  • Busisiwe Mdewuka
  • Nkotsana Maja
  • Mitengo Ngobeni
  • Salina Mtshali
  • Mpho Rasidumelo
  • Matome Masalesa
  • Hlumela Anderson
  • Darryl Richards
  • Skhumbuzo Mlangeni
  • John Switala

5 years’ service

  • Phumzile Shabangu
  • Elizabeth Radebe
  • Mokgadi Chepape
  • Dipuo Lekalakala
  • Lydia Pitsi
  • Hlalukile Khowana
  • Rose Mahlaule
  • Isabel Mokoana
  • Kgaugelo Teka
  • Mbambangani Tshisevhe
  • Prudence Gwala
  • Thokozani Chonco
  • Avhafunani Ravhuhali
  • Aletta Mnisi
  • Duni Tladi Moore
  • Jane Teffo
  • Mamogo Mamabolo
  • Gcinile Simelane
  • Randy Matsaung
  • Refilwe Ratema
  • Hlayisani Nkuna
  • Thilivhali Sibiya
  • Singathwa Siboto
  • Tinyiko Nkwinika
  • Ramadimetja Mabuyela
  • Lilly Mathebula
  • Thivhonali Rananga
  • Raisibe Bodila
  • Vulani  Nkuna
  • Noluvuyo Mlandu
  • Pertunia Moleoa
  • Mmakosha Matsane
  • Nthabiseng Sebata
  • Mmathapelo Magwete
  • Nomantsele Nonjiko
  • Ntombikhona Maphasa
  • Nomathemba Mbulawa
  • Nhlalala Mavunda
  • Thembisile Mthembu
  • Maditaba Nyelele
  • Nicky Ponco
  • Nomizana Pili
  • Etrinah Ndlovu
  • Mokgadi Makwaeba
  • Moipone Mothogoane
  • Mokgothi Shai
  • Siziwe Manyamalala
  • Prudence Mokoena
  • Madikana Matshaba
  • Padmini Moodley
  • Julia Tlhopile
  • Marelele Kekana
  • Takalani Ndou
  • Nduduzo Mahlaba