Majola making a mark in a man’s world

Entreprene­ur fuelled to excel in South Africa’s fuel retail industry


Not many women are part of the South African fuel retail industry, but Queen Majola is gracefully making her way in a man’s world.

Majola, 39, is the proud dealer of a service station in Cala, Eastern Cape. The mother of two boys started off as a cashier after being unable to continue with her electrical engineerin­g studies because of a lack of funds. Majola gracefully journeyed from cashier to filling station dealer.

In 2010, upon returning from maternity leave, Majola decided to start her own business, doing stock-taking at several service stations around Durban. “I did not want to continue with my job as a cashier because I knew I wanted more from life. I wanted to create jobs for other people and help feed families,” she says.

Through her work, she met Sbonelo Mbatha, who owns multiple service stations. Mbatha became her mentor and challenged Majola to go back to being a cashier in the short term, while she learnt more about running a service station.

“My business was not doing well, so I took the position. Within a short period, I was promoted to supervisor and that encouraged my ambition of running my own service station.”

In 2017, Mbatha purchased another service station and entrusted her with being the site manager. “The site was pumping 78,000 litres a month and I grew it to 200,000 litres a month.”

She says thanks to quarterly meetings for all Mbatha’s site managers, held at different stations, she was able to “grow every day in terms of site operations”.

While working as a site manager in 2020, Majola took the opportunit­y to enrol with the PetroCONNE­CT fuel retail industry readiness programme.

The transforma­tion programme, according to the company, provides the practical knowledge needed to operate a highly successful service station.

After she completed the programme, Majola says she believed she had what it takes to be a dealer and started applying for her own site. She was officially appointed as a dealer and owner this year.

Women should not be scared to enter the industry, says Majola, because running a service station takes brains, not muscles. She hopes to empower other women to follow in her footsteps and says she is in the process of “engaging the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority to help me to keep upskilling those who did not make it as graduates”.

 ?? / VUKUZENZEL­E ?? Queen Majola is the proud dealer of a service station in Cala, Eastern Cape.
/ VUKUZENZEL­E Queen Majola is the proud dealer of a service station in Cala, Eastern Cape.

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