Fifteen years ago, the Daily Sun embarked on an innovative CSI initiative by creating Mr Fixit, a team that visits underprivileged communities and fixes basic damages in people’s homes.
And there’s lots of work to be done. On average they receive 30 to 40 requests per day, sent by readers to a SMS line. Since the SMS line was set up one year ago, it has received 7 009 requests .
How it works
The Mr Fixit team consists of only two people, Warren van Niekerk and Rudzani Ratshikakala. They sort through the SMS requests and group them by area and job type, before heading out to start fixing.
“It stands out to us to know that ‘yes we can do it for people’ … We are here for people who can’t afford it,” says van Niekerk.
The service is nationwide, with the two traveling from Cape Town to Musina, from Durban to Springbok. They aim to complete a minimum of four jobs per day. “We are at a point, where we drive in the townships without any branding on the bakkie, and people know us,” explains Ratshikakala.
While this worthwhile project is greatly assisting communities, unfortunately it’s like a spoonful of butter on 20 loaves of bread, spread far too thin. A major reason for this is that, like most projects today, funding is a massive obstacle to overcome. When it was launched, Mr Fixit received a R1 million donation, but that soon ran out, due to the large demand and the work that needed doing. Advertising revenue from the Daily Sun funds Mr Fixit, but the team has asked the media publication to set up a trust, which can provide much needed funding. Donations are also always welcomed.
New tools and training
One such donation occurred recently, as the world’s largest tooling company Stanley Black & Decker welcomed the Mr Fixit team to its office for a training workshop and tool handover. The SBD crew, Jansen van der Westhuizen and Enrico Toorn, took van Niekerk and Ratshikakala through their toolset, before giving each of them a toolbox to assist in their work.
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8