Guarding cars is all in a day’s work

Car guard Randall Dafeds is pictured at the Caledon Street parking area in Zonnebloem.

Randall Dafeds is homeless, but he he does what he can to ensure that he is able to provide for his two young children who live with his grandmother.

And right now, what he can do is car-guarding, and you’ll find him at the Caledon Street parking area, from 8am until 6pm – and sometimes until 7pm.

Randall, 35, has been doing this for the past two years.

Parking in the CBD is not only hard to find, but also expensive – as much as R16.50 an hour – so many people opt to park just on the fringes of town in District Six, creating lucrative business for guards like Randall.

On a good day, Randall says, he can make R80 to R100 from the tips he gets from motorists. If they want their cars washed, he charges R30.

Sometimes, if they feel he has done a really good job, they tip him something extra.

During the week Randall lives in a makeshift shelter in Zonnebloem, about a 20-minute walk from the parking lot, and on weekends he goes to Kalksteenfontein to visit his grandmother Anna Dafeds and his two daughters Veronica, 8, and Esmeralda, three months.

Randall’s shelter, in which he has lived with his girlfriend Warda for the past five months, is made of planks, supported by a brick foundation, and plastic garbage bags covering the roof. Despite the recent rains, he says, his little home has held up well.

Reflecting on his past, Randall told the Tatler he served time in prison for armed robbery, from 2001 to 2009.

During that time he moved from Drakenstein prison to Helderstroom and finally to Brandvlei prison.

In prison, he became a member of the 28s gang to protect himself, but it was also while he was in prison that he attended a life skills programme, through which he was exposed to talks by a range of different people as well as regular visits from social workers. He also attended anger management classes and learned how important it is to respect others – something he puts into practice now, particularly when he is guarding cars.

When asked as to why he did not go to a homeless shelter, he said they were overcrowded and had strict curfews.