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On the southern outskirts of Johannesburg lies Soweto, South Africa’s biggest township and home to more than 800 thousand inhabitants.

Established in 1963 as part of one of the apartheid regime’s policies of racial segregation, Soweto has become a cultural and artistic hotspot and ground zero for a new generation of dynamic professionals. Upwards mobile and fiercely entrepreneurial, the people of Soweto are increasingly becoming part of the national conversation around personal and business success.

From Vilikaze Street to the iconic water towers that stand sentry over this unique slice of South African history, Soweto has an energy, a spirit that is difficult to ignore.

Technology is an important part of this narrative and, with the region’s rapidly growing wealth, more and more home- and business owners are realising the importance of a sufficiently robust security infrastructure.

While the use of access automation solutions such as gate motors as a means of securing properties is relatively new in this market, residents are starting to see the benefits of being able to control their gates remotely.

Siphiwe Thabete, owner of JS Quality Engineering, has been installing gate motors and associated security equipment in Soweto for a number of years, and has recently opened a brick and mortar shop in the Moroka area.

A long-time client of Centurion Systems, Siphiwe speaks fondly of his first visit to the company’s head office in North Riding.

“The first time that I walked into [CENTURION’s] head office, I could see that it was a proper manufacturing office. It was structured, you could see that everything was in order and I preferred the services that I received there. That was back in 2010 or 2011. I think the service is excellent compared to competitors”.

Asked about the products themselves, Siphiwe cites their ruggedness and the availability of technical support as the main reasons that he almost exclusively specifies CENTURION.

Joseph Sindane runs his security and installation business, Sindane Alarms, from his home in Protea North. As an entrepreneur, the amicable and likeable Joseph puts considerable effort into advertising his services and gate automation in general.

“I think that people now are starting to like motor gates, it is just a matter of demonstrating how they work and establishing trust [and] building a relationship”.

He goes on to say that, with the clear and ever-present danger of hijacking being a major concern in the townships, gate automation provides a way for residents of getting into their properties quickly and having the gate close behind them.

Monica Mnisi is a service provider for a well-known insurance firm, and occasionally helps husband Wiseman at his gate automation undertaking, Wiseman Automation.

Being in the insurance industry, she highlights the fact that the theft of gate motors is a major concern, but feels confident that CENTURION’s new theft-resistant cage – which boasts a covered padlock and reinforced welding for added strength – will go a long way towards alleviating this issue.

“As an insurance service provider, we’re getting claims, people are stealing motors like…I don’t know what” says Monica of the gate motor theft epidemic currently sweeping the country. “The new bracket is the best. I definitely believe that it’s going to make a difference”.

Monica and Wiseman have been actively promoting the CENTURION brand in Soweto,.

She concludes by saying that “[CENTURION’s products] are advanced, they are very easy to use, to program, those kinds of things”.

The final leg of our tour of eKasi takes us to Securitek in Lenasia, where owner Mohammed echoes Monica’s concerns regarding gate motor theft in the area.

“Especially in Lenasia, we’re dealing with five, six motors getting stolen every day,” says Mohammed, emphasising the seriousness of the situation.

Like Monica, he feels that the new theft-resistant cage will be effective in combatting theft.

“We’ve been selling the new bracket for about a week now, and so far we haven’t had any reported cases [of gate motor theft]. The guys are happy with it and, from a personal perspective, I can say that I really like the design”.

Another CENTURION loyalist, Mohammed says that this manufacturer’s solutions are favoured by installers – Sekuritek’s core focus – as well.

“When it comes to gate automation, CENTURION’s products are our bestsellers. They practically sell themselves!” says Mohammed.

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