Cape Town taxi drivers go to business school

2015-07-03 08:13
(Supplied, City of Cape Town)

(Supplied, City of Cape Town)

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Cape Town - Henry ‘Hawk’ Williams never finished matric. But now he is one of 90 “senior” students without prior qualifications who have been applying their minds in a lecture hall of one of the country’s top universities.

Minibus taxi operators from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha have been receiving business development training provided by the City of Cape Town and facilitated by the University of Cape Town.

They are prepared to play a more hands-on and collaborative role in the functioning and development of the operations of the MyCiTi bus service.

Empowering

For Williams, who has 19 years of experience as a taxi driver and is currently the chairperson of the Route Six Taxi Association, the experience has been empowering.

He has been attending classes twice a week for the past five months.

“I have learnt about company law, corporate governance, administration and transport management. Wow! I feel as if I am being taken from an informal trade and being taught how to be a professional,” he told News24.

In his almost two decades of being on the road, those working in the taxi industry have never been given the opportunity to develop their business acumen, Williams pointed out.

“I have always been able to hold my own in meetings with people who hold degrees, but now I feel I have more theoretical experience to build on what I have learned practically over the years.”

The N2 Express, which links Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha to the city centre, was the first MyCiTi route rolled out to the metro south-east and has incorporated former taxi and bus drivers into the service.

It is operated by a vehicle operating company (VOC) which is made up of members of Codeta in Khayelitsha, Route Six Taxi Association in Mitchells Plain, and Golden Arrow Bus Services.

Economic growth

The aim of the training is to allow economic growth in previously disadvantaged areas, Mayor Patricia de Lille explained in a statement.

“As part of industry transition for MyCiTi operations, the City is providing this business development training to equip taxi operators who form part of the VOC with greater business skills and knowledge.” she said.

The budget is about R39m and is facilitated by professionals.

The training consists of four courses: entry-level orientation to South African company law and foundations of corporate governance; introduction to management; introduction to public transport planning and management; and introduction to bus operating contract models and the management of scheduled transport operations.

Two phases have already been completed, and two courses are still in progress.

MyCiTi success

De Lille said the training would allow the members of the Mitchells Plain and Codeta taxi associations the skills to manage large-scale bus operations in the future.

Participants have displayed a “great level of participation and interaction during training sessions”, she said.

“While this is the first training of its kind that we are providing, we intend to continue doing so in future phases of MyCiTi and other transformation processes, as training and capacitation of the minibus-taxi industry is an integral part of the success of MyCiTi."

Williams said the knowledge and insight he had gained so far would go a long way towards making an informal industry more professional.

“These sessions have been invaluable and an eye-opener. Going to class again has been an adjustment but it really is worth it. The only direction we’re heading now is forward.”

Read more on:    uct  |  myciti  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  transport  |  good news

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