Mayor salutes ‘brave’ women

2018-10-09 06:00
Mayor Patricia de Lille spent time with the MyCiTi bus service employees and praised them for their dedication.

Mayor Patricia de Lille spent time with the MyCiTi bus service employees and praised them for their dedication.

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“These women are a true inspiration and testament to the fact that women can excel in jobs previously dominated by men.”

This was City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s statement shortly after she spent time with female employees of the MyCiTi bus service on Thursday 4 October.

De Lille’s visit to the Tollgate depot in Woodstock was so she could learn more about the work the MyCiTi women do on a day-to-day basis. She met bus drivers, mechanics, regulators and dispatchers.

The mayor’s stop-over also marked Transport Month.

“The success of the MyCiTi service over the years is a result of the dedication of these women and their colleagues who ensure that thousands of commuters have safe and reliable journeys on our roads on a daily basis,” says De Lille.

She says the women are excelling in the transport industry, a sector traditionally dominated by men.

De Lille says a lot of work is being done to encourage women to take up careers in the so-called ‘male-dominated’ industry and statistics paint a promising picture.

Currently, MyCiTi has 52 female bus drivers working on its routes across the city, 12 female dispatch operators at its depots as well as two female technicians.

The current intake ratio of one of the MyCiTi bus operating companies, Table Bay Rapid Transit (TBRT), for its learnership programme is nine to one, meaning they recruit nine female drivers for every one male driver enrolled, says De Lille.

She says she sat down with Emmarentia Ruiters, a MyCiTi bus driver based in Atlantis. Ruiters was one of the first women to enrol for the learnership programme in 2015.

She previously worked as a front-end controller at a retail company in Atlantis. The 26-year-old switched to the transport industry in search of a new challenge and it has always been her desire to be able to operate a heavy vehicle.

The mayor also met Amanda Mtshixa who came to work in the transport industry via a learnership. She was previously a call centre agent. After being accepted into the programme, Mtshixa worked hard and proved herself as a competent bus driver before she was recently promoted to a regulator who manages operations at the MyCiTi bus stations and oversees various route operations. The 27-year-old has further ambitions and sees herself in a management position over the coming years.

“This is precisely the kind of ambition that we want to inspire by giving the women the opportunity to work in male-dominated industries,” De Lille says.

Another staff member, Alvina Abrahams, had a long journey as a bus driver before relocating to another city a few years ago. The 38-year-old returned to Cape Town where she reapplied for her old job as a bus driver seven years ago. She was promoted to the position of administration clerk and yard dispatcher at the TBRT MyCiTi Atlantis depot five years ago.

De Lille adds: “But we still have a long way to go. Only 37.2% of 27 000 employees at the City are women and few serve in management positions.

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