JOHANNESBURG - A young businessman has carved out a niche for himself in entrepreneurship by recycling used shipping containers into affordable, luxurious homes.
Itumeleng Gatsby Lamola, 26, who hails from Welkom in Free State but is based in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, is chief executive and founder of Jafta Construction.
He dropped out of his accounting degree studies at the Central University of Technology (CUV) after losing interest in the subject. He subsequently enrolled for a national diploma in information technology, software science, completing it in 2016.
That is the same year a young Lamola got interested in stocks trading, majoring in JSE indices and indexes, before dabbling in forex trading.
Last year, he visited his uncle in Benoni, who ran Gone Away Construction, specialising
in building malls and ordinary houses. Lamola says he helped out his uncle in the business by dusting off his basic accounting skills and doing bookkeeping for him and handling the payment of all his employees.
“That’s where my interest and knowledge in construction property development comes from,” he says, during an interview with Business Report.
Having done his homework and armed with all the skill and expertise he earned while working for Gone Away Construction, Lamola ventured out on his own in January by establishing Jafta Construction.
The company turns shipping containers into fully furnished beautiful homes, with bedrooms ranging from two up to seven, with the price ranging from R80 000 up to R410 000.
The houses are designed according to the client’s specifications and can either be a double or single storey
, with fully functioning bathrooms, and garages having enough capacity to accommodate three vehicles.
“We cater for all sorts of clients, from young people wanting to build their parents their dream homes, to the guy who wants to extend his house, among others,” he says.
Jafta Construction has reasonable following on social media, a marketing gambit that has helped Lamola take his business far and wide.
He says he will hit the ground running next year because of clients he has already secured in West Africa.
“Next year we are going to be building houses in Nigeria. We have secured quite a number of clients in that country already, who are willing to do business with us,” he says, while sipping on bottled water.
“We will also be extending our operations to Ghana as well. But the long term goal is to expand to the rest of Africa.”
Lamola has no qualms declaring that he chose to venture into the business because it has a “lot of money” and investment.
“Another reason is because, I’m an artist at heart. Turning shipping containers into luxurious homes is my passion. I design the houses myself, there is a lot of architecture that goes behind the scenes.”
He says 80 percent of South Africans love his creations, a move he credits for having helped him clinch a deal with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan municipality on the East Rand.
The entrepreneur reveals that he will be constructing 92 container RDP houses at Makhathini in Wattville in December for the Ekurhuleni Metro’s human settlements department.
“Another deal that his in the pipeline is the fact that we are also set to build houses for a mining company in North West.”
Lamola says he is still very much involved in forex trading, despite his successes with Jafta Construction.
“Forex trading is an investment that I will never lose. It gets me off the ground whenever I’m down.”
Take a look at what some people had to say about the business on Twitter below: