Buhle Waste, one of the three leading companies in South Africa in the field of medical waste management, has increased the number of Hino trucks in its fleet to 62 with the purchase of a further six 500-Series 1626 models from Hino East Rand.
The company, which was formed 15 years ago, has been loyal to Toyota and Hino since that time and if it inherits other makes of trucks and bakkies when it takes over contracts from other service providers it soon trades them in on Toyota and Hino products according to the company CEO, Dr. David Sekete.
Besides the 62 Hino trucks the fleet currently includes 16 Toyota cars and bakkies.
Although the company now concentrates mainly on medical waste management it still does domestic waste removal with five 19m3 compactors and removes rubble with skip loaders.
Dr Sekete says there are many benefits from operating a fleet from one manufacturer but in terms of the Hino trucks he says the main attributes that make these trucks well suited to his applications are the reliability and durability (many of the operations include extensive driving on gravel roads), fuel economy and engine power in hilly terrain, while they are backed up by very good service from Hino dealers countrywide.
Lucky Mohale, who is responsible for the 18 medical waste trucks operating in Limpopo, is a particularly strong supporter of the Hino brand in terms of problem free operation of the vehicles and excellent support from Hino Limpopo.
Buhle Waste was established in 1997, initially focussing on collecting and disposing of domestic waste which grew to servicing 100 000 dwelling sites in Ekurhuleni. There was also a limited involvement in landfill dump sites, but these contracts have been sold off.
Then followed a move into the collection and disposal of medical waste in 1999.
This move was a natural progression for Buhle Waste as the company’s founder and CEO Dr Phetole David Sekete is a medical doctor who trained in environmental and occupational health at Wits University and in Denmark, obtaining a Master’s degree.
The first vehicle in the Buhle medical waste fleet was a Hilux pick-up with a box body but soon Hino trucks with special Hazchem Hazcehm Hbox bodies were added to the fleet for this purpose. Initially the company serviced hospitals and clinics in Gauteng only, but operations have expanded subsequently into Limpopo, northern KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Mpumalanga Provinces, while Dr Sekete says he is looking for further growth opportunities.
Six years ago the company bought a 300-ton medical waste incinerator in Dunswart and it operates at full capacity, with additional waste collected being delivered to incinerators in Klerksdorp and Roodepoort.
Now the company has a waste disposal machine, known as a Converter, undergoing testing in Botswana so that it can be approved for use in South Africa. The purchase of this machine supports Buhle Waste’s mission statement to “go green” with the plan being to install this equipment at a number of major waste generation sites to cut down on waste collection and transportation to dump sites.
Dr Sekete stresses how important it is to monitor medical waste from the collection point to the incinerator and this applies to the individual containers as well as the vehicles themselves. He said the company was fortunate in having tied up with a sophisticated tracking company, Technetium, based in Linksfield, as this was a crucial component in ensuring the efficiency and security of the whole operation.
The company operates 24/7 in many centres and has drivers trained not only in defensive driving but also in first aid and handling hazardous substances. The company selects its own drivers. They are monitored on an ongoing basis and Dr Sekete says they are loyal to the company, with many having long service.
Total employment is approaching 400 people.
Buhle Waste General Manager Portia Mabote is the person in the company ultimately responsible for transport requirements and she says vehicles are changed on average every 4-5 years, with servicing being carried out by Hino dealers.
Buhle Waste is certainly a company on the move and with the drive and determination of CEO Dr David Sekete it will remain a dominant player in medical waste management while continuing with its original domestic waste and rubble removal and disposal, albeit on a smaller scale than the medical waste operation.