THE Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM) hit a major milestone recently when it recorded its three billionth litre of fuel pumped.
Astron Energy is South Africa’s #2 petroleum company with a network of over 850 Caltex-branded service stations in South Africa and Botswana, which includes those managed by 11 Branded Marketers or regional operators, CECM among them.
CECM was Caltex’s first Branded Marketer, beginning operations in December 2005. It is also the largest of the branded marketer operators, overseeing 111 Caltex retail sites across the province.
Over 50% of Astron Energy’s retail network is in the hands of Black entrepreneurs through its Caltex Branded Marketer Programme. This programme was specifically developed to provide an opportunity for new Black entrants to participate in the petroleum retail market.
As custodian of the Caltex brand in their areas, Branded Marketers are responsible for supplying fuel, implementing training and maintaining service levels and customer experience at the Caltex service stations in their network.
“This milestone is a celebration of the wonderful team of people that make up the Caltex Eastern Cape network, and their commitment to continually improving the customer experience at our sites,” said CECM CEO Pat Kelly. “I would like to thank each and every person who has played a role in the achievement.”
CECM was started by Clive Berlyn and Richard Ndungane in 2005. Together, they turned a part-time side business of a petrol station in Mthatha into a transformative business success story.
Upon his retirement in 2020, Berlyn recalled how he and Ndungane, who died in 2010, turned the Mthatha service station into the biggest pumper in the entire Caltex SA network within three years.
Berlyn said he and Ndungane had “a genuine business partnership based on trust and honesty – we didn’t always agree, but we did always find a way to build the business”.
Ndungane’s family retains a share in CECM. Stephen Dondolo, as the main shareholder of The African Pioneer Group, bought into the business in 2010 and is now a majority shareholder.
Astron Energy’s Retail General Manager Tebogo Mekoa said the landmark presented another significant milestone achievement in the story of the CECM.
“At Astron Energy, we are very proud to have CECM as a partner and to have been part of their journey of success over the years. CECM has great people who worked very hard and contributed towards making this milestone a possibility, and we congratulate them all,” Mekoa said.
He added: “Our vision as Astron Energy is to be a leading African energy company, enabling growth, enriching lives and delivering shared value to consumers, customers and communities, and CECM is an important part of this journey.”