Born out of a deep love for engineering and thousands of kilometres’ worth of off-road experience, RATAU Hard Canopies has emerged as one of Mpumalanga’s premier vehicle metalwork manufacturers.
Operating out of Middelburg, the company is directed by Quereshini Naidoo, Gerhard Holtshauzen and Herman Brümmer. They manage a team of 10 multi-skilled workshop staff, as well as four administrators who handle everything from sales to marketing.
Where did it all begin?
Several years ago, says Naidoo, the company’s founders, mechanical engineers and avid 4×4 enthusiasts, decided to turn their hobby of designing and custom-making canopies for their own vehicles into a business. In 2015, RATAU was born, snapping up the talents and expertise of aluminium fabricator and Workshop Manager Colin Mokala, who has 25 years’ of experience. Today, the company produces dozens of quality products for commercial and leisure customers.
RATAU genuinely does it all – from aluminium canopies to custom cattle cages and Land Cruiser suspension brackets. You name it, they will do it. The company is also more than willing to take walk-in requests. “We may have a tannie who walks in off the street and needs a baking tray made to her specifications, or an oom who requires the bending of a plate,” laughs Naidoo. “We are flexible and do anything required by the client.”
She adds that RATAU is currently working on its first full motorhome, based on an Iveco Daily 4×4 platform.
“Besides a number of standard products, we produce to client specification and we generally use stronger material to produce our components,” she says. “The quality of our products is of the highest standard.”
RATAU’s super factory
The directors are incredibly proud of their factory and the work done there. The facility is ideally placed, says Naidoo, to service Mpumalanga residents who aren’t keen on driving all the way to Johannesburg for an aluminium canopy or specialised metal product.
The workshop spans 800m2 and includes fitting bays and all essential machinery. Design is done in-house using AutoCAD, while finished products are proudly displayed in RATAU’s adjacent showroom.
Asked what makes their company special, Naidoo believes that the youthfulness and vibrancy of RATAU’s hardworking employees acts in their favour. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and our personalised customer service,” she says. “We love what we do and you feel it when you walk into our offices.”
In the next few years, the directors hope to expand their product portfolio and grow their market in Mpumalanga. Who knows? Maybe even further than that!
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