It is not every day that you see a young woman high up on a 26-ton, 370-horsepower rear-end loader waste collection vehicle and four men behind her.
But 27-year-old Candice Adriaanse and colleague Collette Goby, 45, have been driving Averda solid waste removal trucks for years and they are loving it. The aunt and niece duo started driving large vehicles at the age of 19.
Adriaanse was a minibus driver while working as a tour guide and Goby was a Golden Arrow bus driver.
Adriaanse hopes to one day own her own fleet of trucks.
She has been a solid waste truck driver at Averda for two years after she passed the DriveTime assessment programme which the company undertakes every year. Like Goby, she started driving at the age of 19, but as a tour guide.
Goby is a wife and mother of two and leaves home to start her shift at 5.30am.
“I’m lucky because my husband prepares the 5-year-old for school and the 17-year-old sorts himself out. I had both my children while driving these massive vehicles,” she said with pride.
A few women are now also in the male-dominated minibus taxi industry which is said to have an annual revenue of R39billion and is the main source of income for almost 600000 families in the country.
Weekend Argus spoke to three brave women who say they work very long hours but the industry is “definitely not just for men”.
Dodging bullets and bringing bullies and gangsters to their knees has been part of female taxi driver Mona Asher’s life for the past 33 years.
The 49-year-old mother of five told Weekend Argus she has raised all of her children and put them through school while working as a taxi driver.
“This is a very rough industry, the violence and the drugs are an everyday experience that is why I decided to move to metered taxis, it is calmer,” she said.
Alicia Madya, a marketing graduate from Zimbabwe and mother of three, came to South Africa three years ago looking for work. After hitting a number of brick walls she felt it would be “best to try driving for a living”. Madya now drives meter taxis in the CBD.
“As a woman I am very vulnerable My primary goal and focus coming here was to ensure that my children’s education is taken care of,” said the proud mom.
Meanwhile, 42-year-old mother of two from Pelican Park, Bernice Odendal became a taxi driver after she separated from her husband 10 years ago. The former Golden Arrow Bus driver is the only female driver in the Retreat Taxi Association (RTA). Sitting in the driver’s seat of her 16-seater Toyota Hi-Ace minibus, Odendal prepares to drive off to Westlake to drop her passengers.
Passengers said: “We feel safer with a female driver, they drive more carefully than the men.”
[This story first appeared on the IOL website.]