Above: The Toyota Ses’Fikile Training Programme delegates and course presenters at the graduation ceremony held in Gauteng.
Toyota South Africa, together with the University of Pretoria (UP) and Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP), recently completed another successful run of the Toyota Ses’fikile Training Programme with the aim to help enhance operations in the local taxi industry. At the heart of the programme is the undertaking to provide members of taxi associations with basic business and management skills in an effort to ensure that the taxi industry continues to play a meaningful role in the country’s economic development.
The taxi industry in South Africa is a crucial component of economic activity consisting of several stakeholders from employer/taxi owners, drivers, patrollers, queue marshals and administrators to customers in the streets all which make up different communities. With the belief that an administratively sound taxi industry led by well-informed and progressive leaders, it is an industry that can have a deep and lasting impact on the lives of many people on a day-to-day basis.
As a result, two training programmes were rolled out annually over the course of three years (2016–2018) across Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and the Free State. With the aim to train 120 delegates per year per programme, they focused on integrating and synergising organisational activities within delegates’ work environments and communities on the basis of a profound understanding of the value chain perspective.
Course leader, Prof Melanie Wiese explains, “Not only were delegates equipped with skills transferable to their associations and community at large, but facilitators were also allowed a glimpse into the taxi industry… Delegates from different taxi associations worked together in these courses, creating a mutual understanding between the associations and bettering the taxi industry. Looking back over the past three years, [we are] proud to be part of this project and are looking forward to what the future may bring. Considering the importance of the role of the taxi industry in the national and global economic space, these programmes could not have come at a more opportune time,” she says.
The course is facilitated by a collection of industry specialists and lecturers from UP who present on a variety of topics including computer literacy, basic financial management and entrepreneurship.
Alpheus Mlalazi, General Secretary of the National Taxi Association concludes, “We are very proud because anybody else would have thrown their arms up in the air and said, ‘No, we can’t operate in this space.’ But [Toyota South Africa and the University of Pretoria] persisted. Here we are today. What [they are] showing to us, is that they are demystifying an industry that serves so many millions, yet one that people choose not to understand.”