It is not often that one gets to have a second bite at the cherry, but I have been blessed enough to have a second chance at contributing to this organisation. Allow me to re-introduce myself, I am a Xhosa-boy from the Eastern Cape village of Magwala near Cofimvaba, a small town made popular by many others including the late Chris Hani and I am also a proud father of two boys.
I started my career with IBL in March 2002 and after 3 years I relocated to Gauteng. Back in 2002 I worked in the Human Resources Department, that role allowed me greater access to all employees and their families. I developed close ties with most employees and Managers and those continued long after I had left the Company.
I have always admired the work ethic of my colleagues at that time and what the Company stood for. Long after I left the company, my heart would be filled with joy and pride when I come across the IBL buses across the country. It felt good knowing that I was part of the company’s history.
In making my return to serve the people of Mangaung, in a new role as Stakeholder Relations Manager, I am beyond myself with pride and a sense of great gratitude to the men and women that kept the wheels rolling while I was away. I feel extremely privileged and humbled that I have an opportunity to come back to where my love for diesel started. I have been enjoined with the responsibility of ensuring that I build strong and sustainable relations with all our stakeholders. This great call I will discharge with passion and greatest honour.
I have come back to a place full of hope and promise and have been amazed by the new energy and culture I find on my return. I have found so much warmth and generosity from the lowest ranking to most senior employees. This can only be attributed to a collective effort from all, but above all, I have come to see the power of a prayer. Generally, as people we acknowledge and accept the existence of a superior power, we understand the unifying spiritual space but never have I encountered an organisation that actively practice this belief. I have come back to an organisation that starts and ends each meeting with a prayer, literally starts each week with a prayer, every day at 09h00 some of its drivers congregate and pray. Each morning its passengers gather and pray at its main terminal. No amount of money can buy what these people have, what they have is something that lives within them. I find a Company united in one purpose and that is to “serve”. I am humbled by the men and women that wake up at the crack of dawn each morning to make a difference in the lives of the passengers they carry. While most people sleep in the comforts of their dwelling, there is a father or mother that leaves his/her loved ones to ensure that their kids can sleep comfortable. This Bus Driver, Regulator, Despatcher, Traffic Superintendent, Traffic Manager, Mechanic brave the cold Mangaung weather to unite employers with their employees, ferry students, domestic workers, gardeners, security guards and many others to their destinations. This parent, brother, sister assumes responsibility of all lives that board his/her bus. This is by no means a casual responsibility. Long after many people go to bed, there are men and women that ensure that our valued Bus Drivers returns the passengers safe home and before most people wake up, these people are at it again. It would be a grave injustice if I do not recognise these efforts, they may not be without any challenges but they sure come from a good place.
As I make these observations I am awake to the reality that exists as this Company attempts to deliver service to its passengers. This Company is not immune to the social ills that exists within the community in which it operates. The sad reality is that these communities battle with high rates of unemployment, poverty, substance abuse, crime and so on. The impact of the state of the economy on the community as well as on the Company is plain for everyone to see. Despite all these, the spirit of the people of Mangaung soldiers on.
I am encouraged by these collective efforts of all these people, be it passengers, employees, corporate and many other social organisations. I am convinced that a better tomorrow exists and lastly I am grateful that I have been provided with an opportunity to influence some of this change and this influence is attainable through working together with all our stakeholders.
Thank you and see you soon.