By Ntsako Khosa

“My favourite part of the job is the design phase, where a problem statement is converted into an engineering solution.”

Malusi S. Ndebele is the founder and Technical Services director of VM Refrigeration and Airconditioning Projects in Johannesburg. “My role in the company is to formulate the business growth strategy for the company in both revenue and human capital. Furthermore, I look to forge and maintain old and new relationships with clients.”

Getting started

In 2009, he was intrigued by the refrigeration and air conditioning industry while working for the South African National Blood Services (SANBS). “I was employed on an acting capacity as a refrigeration and air conditioning supervisor. My original role in the company was an Instrumentation supervisor,” he says.

This opened his eyes to the world of HVAC which was further inspired by Bruce Scallan who at the time used to build and maintain the company’s refrigeration equipment. “His ethics and in-depth knowledge of the industry sparked the knowledge. This led to me registering for the refrigeration and air conditioning courses at ACRA and OTTC.” He is currently busy with his mechanical engineering studies through UNISA.

“Upon completion of the courses and working experience, I then started the company. It has grown from a one-man entity to a company with 10 full time employees, four company bakkies and fixed contract staff.”

For the love of the job

He gets an adrenaline rush from the ever-changing landscape of the HVAC&R field and the various technologies in the industry. “One has to be constantly on their toes to keep abreast with the industry changes and trends. The realisation of a system design into a finished product or solution for a client is fulfilling,” he says. “Once implemented the final walkabout of the site to handover the solution to a client is the cherry on top,” he says.


Some of the projects under his wing, past and current, are the DLM Longmeadow Offices aircon systems upgrade, VML SA offices aircon upgrades, Jacaranda Shopping Centre Trane chiller refurbishment, Vodacom Lesotho close control system supply and installation and Festo chiller replacement.

Future plans

“There is still a great potential to grow the company further and empower the country’s youth,” Ndebele says. He is also actively seeking strategic relationships with industry peers. “We seem to operate in silos as the SMMEs and creating winning partnerships with our industry colleagues would be beneficial for the growth of our industry.”

He is motivated by the desire to excel in what the company does by further creating long lasting relationships. “The industry has been given a bad name by the bakkie brigades. With the backing and affiliation to professional bodies we aim to assure our clients that we are not a fly by night institution but uphold all the values and ethics of our industry associations,” he concludes.