Laurie & Helmine Claassen - co-founders of ROLA
It was in April 1963 when The Rola Group was first established. Mr MH (Kiewiet) Cloete - a farmer from Karasburg, Namibia - was visiting the Strand for his annual family holiday when he met and befriended the owner of the then Helderberg Motors, bought a car from him, and unexpectedly found himself a 50% shareholder in the previously humble business.
One morning, a short while later, Mr Cloete received a distressing phone call informing him that the company in which he was a shareholder was in liquidation and he was in for some serious financial debts. Being the proud and good businessman that he was, he immediately consolidated some of his assets, paid off the company’s debts, and registered a new company; MH Cloete Enterprises, trading as Rola Motors.
From the get-go, Mr Cloete’s son-in-law, Laurie Claassen - a school teacher at the time - together with the support of his wife Helmine, joined him in enterprise on 3 April 1963 (the group’s official birthdate) as co-owner. His only substantial financial asset at the time was a 1961 Zephyr, which he sold to cover his share of the company which consisted of a filling station, used car sales, and repair shop operating from a small workshop at the time. He also had no previous business experience, but under the mentorship of his father-in-law and continuous support of his wife, they worked hard to lay the sound and solid foundation for a successful company to follow, later coining the phrase, “Service is your best salesperson”, which has become synonymous with Rola Motors.
Being the proud and good businessman that he was, he consolidated some of his assets, paid off the debts, and registered a new company, MH Cloete Enterprises, trading as Rola Motors.
In 1994, upon the retirement of Mr Cloete, Laurie Claassen became the sole owner of the Rola Motors company in which he was accompanied by both his sons, Theo - who had joined in 1986 - and Marius in 1993.
When Laurie Claassen eventually retired in 2007, he left his ever-growing empire in the hands of his capable sons which has evolved over the years to what is known today as the Rola Motor Group. Since these humble beginnings, over more than five decades, the Rola Group has acquired and traded in different new and pre-owned vehicle brands, endorsing and serving them with the Rola customer experience of excellence and integrity, through which the group has earned its reputation.
Laurie & Helmine Claassen - co-founders of ROLA
Theo Claassen: Non-Executive Director
Followed up as CEO of Rola until 2016.
Marius Claassen: Chief Executive Officer
CEO of Rola since 2017.
Mr. Claassen had no previous business experience, and under the mentorship of his father-in-law and continuous support and active involvement of his wife, Helmine, they worked very hard to lay the sound and solid foundation for a successful company to follow. The then family residence is these days known as the “Home of Rola” and facilitates the Automotive Retail Academy and training facilities. Laurie Claassen coined the phrase,”Service is your best salesperson”, which became synonymous with Rola Motors.
In 1994, upon the retirement of M.H Cloete, Mr. Laurie Claassen became the sole owner of the Rola Motors company; he was accompanied in the business by both his sons, Theo who had joined in 1986, and Marius in 1993. Mr. Laurie Claassen retired in 2007, leaving the company in the hands of his capable sons.
Over more than five decades, the Rola Group has acquired and traded in different new and pre-owned vehicle brands, endorsing and serving them with the Rola customer experience of excellence and integrity, through which the Group has earned its reputation.
Qhubeka is a global initiative that provides bicycles for struggling communities to improve their access to schools, clinics and job. Those with limited transport have restrictions, but bicycles are tools of change; helping people to travel faster and further to generate income and to carry more.
Joining this initiative, Rola Motor Group has become a proud partner of Qhubeka to support our local communities and staff members through the following programmes:
With around 12 million of the country’s 16 million school-going children walking to and from school every day, bicycles are an effective alternative to address the needs of many children in South Africa. They can earn Qhubeka Bicycles by committing to improve their school attendance, participation in sport and improved grades.
The Learn-to-Earn Programme has been supported by Rola with the donation of 240 bicycles so far to children across three geographical areas and communities within which we operate.
Bicycles change lives and with our proud Qhubeka partnership, it is our mission to ensure that we indeed live up to the challenge of mobilising our communities towards better education.
https://qhubeka.org for more information.
Through our Remedial Intervention Programme the Heaven-on-Earth Project endeavours to help bridging backlogs before learners enter the formal school situation.
The intended outcome is to ensure that 90 percent of learners will be school ready in the future compared to the current approximately 20 to 50 percent in some South African communities.
The ROLA group partnered the Heaven-on-Earth Project since 2013. As one of Heaven-on-Earth’s key sponsors, it plays an enormous role in supporting the Remedial Intervention Programme brought to more than a thousand pre-school learners annually. ROLA also spreads love and care through events such as Christmas parties and gifts to the young learners of the HOEP centre in Sir Lowry’s Pass and lends a helping hand whenever needed.
Thank you to the wonderful, caring group of people at the ROLA group. As Heaven- on-Earthteam we are blessed to have sponsors and friends like you. Thank you for making it possible to bring back hope to the communities in the Western Cape.
As part of our performance-driven culture, we have linked with some of SA’s top-performing athletes over the years. This includes some championship names from different fields, helping us support our local sportsmen and women, as well as reminding ourselves to continuously improve our own business model and performance alongside them.
We've enjoyed working with these driven athletes and look forward to the rest of our performance-driven partnership going forward.
Specialising in cross-country mountain bike racing, Mariske began racing competitively in 2008 and went on to represent South Africa for the first time in Italy that same year. She has been SA XCO Champion a total of 16 times, represented South Africa at the 2014 & 2018 Commonwealth Games, and was selected for the Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans in 2015.
A real world-class athlete, Alan Hatherly has competed alongside elite cross-country mountain bikers for many years. Not only did he achieve a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, but also competed at both the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His other accolades include being a 3-time winner of the SA MTB XCO Championship and crowned multiple times as the Cross Country MTB World Champion.
South African swimmer who has taken the world by storm becoming Olympic, World and Commonwealth Champion, as well as winning FINA World Swimmer of the Year. He became South Africa's most decorated Olympian at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as the Commonwealth record holder in the 50 and 100-metre butterfly.
Candice Lill is a South African cyclist who competes in both the cross-country and road bicycle racing disciplines of the sport. She proudly represented South Africa at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London as well as many other elite cross-country championships in her career.