WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN THE BUS INDUSTRY
A group of bus operators and departmental officials
who attended the Bus Management Skills Development Workshop.
More women need to be encouraged and supported to
become bus operators. This was highlighted at the various bus management
skills development workshops held throughout the province by the KZN
Transport Department recently.
These workshops - the last of which was held in the
Empangeni Region - was part of an ongoing initiative by the Department's
Public and Freight Transport Chief Directorate headed by Acting General
Manager, Advocate Simo Chamane, to empower bus operators with the
necessary knowledge and skills to run their businesses better. The
Workshops follow a call made by KZN Transport, Community Safety &
Liaison MEC Bheki Cele that there is a need for more training of small
The workshop course content included empowering operators
with skills in finance management in bus operations, competitive tendering for
bus passenger transport services, developing a business plan and contract
management. Most of the emerging bus operators who are sub-contracted by
established bus operators complained that they are being exploited by the main
bus operators precisely because they lack skills in finance management. Some of
the established operators do not even inform the sub-contracted operators when
their installments for their buses are fully paid up.
Bongiwe Gumede, a former taxi driver from Sonke Transport, who has been a bus
operator for five years said: "I was very grateful that the Department of
Transport conducted this workshop. I can now develop my own business plan and
also evaluate whether my business is making progress or not."
Fikile Mnguni, also from Sonke Transport, said: "This is a male- dominated
industry, but my colleagues have been very supportive."
Senzo Buthelezi of Amandla Transport said: "We are mostly given rural areas to
operate in and the majority of these areas have gravel roads which have a
serious impact on the life span of our buses. We therefore need more workshops
of this nature."
The Department's workshop organizer Nozie Mthethwa said: "We are going to
intensify these workshops. This will help empower small bus operators to work
independently and to be able to tender for main contracts in the future."