IF the saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is true, then Mbulelo Sapepa, 55, of KwaNobuhle must have eaten about 12 045 apples since he started working at VW in 1978.
The Volkswagen Group South Africa employee holds the company’s record of having worked 33 years without a single day’s sick leave.
Sapepa started working for VWSA as an operator at the body shop after he dropped out of school due to financial constraints.
He was recognised at VW’s quarterly general staff meeting.
Sapepa said he had no secret for not having taken a day off sick.
"I do not drink or smoke, but I hardly ever exercise because I am always driving. I cannot really explain how I did it, but I managed it – I guess it is just love for my job,” Sapepa said.
"No one pushes me to go to work – every day I wake up on my own.”
He said that his career highlight was meeting new people.
"I learnt to work with different people from different backgrounds and how to communicate with different races.
"I am happy and proud of being recognised,” the married father of two said.
Last year alone, 34 million workers were absent from their jobs, which cost the economy R3.9-billion.
VW Group SA communications general manager, Matt Gennrich, said Sapepa was exemplary.
"For him to come to work for 33 years and not take a single day of sick leave shows unbelievable commitment to the company and to his work,” Gennrich said.