Florah Netshianane from Makonde-Tshithuthuni has won the Provincial Female Taxi Driver of the Year competition. Photo supplied.
Ms Florah Netshianane from Makonde-Tshithuthuni was selected as the provincial female taxi driver of the year during the Department of Transport and Community Safety’s Taxi Driver of the Year competition. The prize-giving function was held at Bolivia Lodge, outside Polokwane, on Saturday, 28 October.
Netshianane operates her business under the Mutale Taxi Association. She has been a taxi driver since 1998, but she says that, before she ventured into this business, she had seen more doors shut in her face than open. Then, one day, she approached a local taxi owner and asked him for a job. Today, the mother of three is making her mark in the industry and she loves what she does.
“Unlike many of my peers, I did not have any support, and I realised that being behind the wheel was the only option I had left to prevent us from starving,” she said.
Netshianane’s day starts at 05:00 in the morning as she must get to the taxi rank early to get in queue. She drives more than 50km every day, transporting her clients back and forth from Tshipise to Thohoyandou. “I sometimes get up at 04:00. There is no time for make-up, especially in the first week of the month, because that’s the busiest time for us. My day ends at 19:30, then I go home and rest. I like to give my male colleagues a run for their money.”
She says that being a taxi driver is probably one of the most undermined jobs in South Africa, but that it supports many families. “We get called all kinds of names, like ‘mageza’ (taxi driver), uneducated and unskilled, but the truth is that many of us are educated. We also went to school, we just couldn’t sit at home feeling pity for ourselves because there are no jobs,” she said.
In winning the Provincial Female Taxi Driver of the Year competition, Netshianane went home with R20,000 and a trophy, but on Monday, she was back at work again.
Addressing the guests during the function, the MEC for Transport and Community Safety, Ms Florence Radzilani, said the main objective of the competition was to improve the driving skills of male and female taxi drivers around the country. The competition runs at national level. She said several activities had taken place during October’s Transport Month to celebrate the important role that transport plays in our social and economic lives.
“We are pleased to see that the number of participants for this year’s competition has increased dramatically, especially as more women also took part. It shows that people are taking the competition very seriously. This will also assist in terms of reducing accidents on our roads. Many lives will be saved through this programme. We are very proud of women like Netshianane and the other male drivers’ achievements,” she said.
Date:10 November 2023
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.