1. Give us/the readers a brief background about yourself.
I am Magauta Anna Sephoko. I come from a family of 5 including my parents. I was born in Qwa-Qwa but raised in Botshabelo. I am a mother of two and in a very blessed marriage. I have qualifications in HR Management and Transport Management and have experience in both fields. My interest lies more in transport and have been in the industry since 2006. I am currently the Owner and Managing Director of MAM Travel and Tours based in Botshabelo.
2. How did you get involved in the public transport industry?
Through my father who started off as a taxi owner when I was very little. He left the taxis and became involved in the bus operation during 1994. Basically transport has always been our family language since I was young. Apart from all that I love this industry because it involves lots of traveling and interacting with different people and that is my passion.
3. What type of training did you receive in public transport?
Like I have mentioned, I have a qualification in Transport Management, I also have received training from IBL and have been working at Botra Bus Service since 2006.
4. Would you say the experiential training you received from IBL contributed towards your passion for the transport industry?
Yes, a lot and that is where my foundation started. That is where I started learning the true sense and importance of transport. I was taken through various departments to learn how passenger transport operates. I learnt about important aspects such as customer care, routing and scheduling, the importance of punctuality, keeping vehicles roadworthy and mechanically fit etc. No words can ever describe how thankful I am to IBL for adding skills and value to my career.
5. Your relationship with IBL, what does it mean to you?
To be the first and the youngest African female as a sub-contractor at IBL is a real honour and privilege.
I really appreciate the fact that IBL Management has put their faith and trusted me enough to give me this opportunity. This sub-contract means a lot to me because it has given me a chance to also create employment in the society especially with the challenges that we are facing with such high unemployment rate in our country.
6. What would you say is the best advice you have ever received from your father?
My father is my hero and my mentor. I am not saying this because he is my father, it is because he taught me about life and he has been a perfect example to me in every sense of the word. This gentleman we are talking about has been part of my life for over 30 years and has given me a lot of advices till thus far, but amongst so many I can mention two: Wake up to each day by being a better person than yesterday. To me this means don’t stop dreaming and work harder every day in order to reach your success; Being successful is not by luck, but by working hard and living like a slave now so that you can reap what you sowed later and be able to live like a king. To be able to live like a king one day is to start saving and investing every penny that you have now.
7. How many years have you been actively involved in the transport industry?
I started working as an Office Administrator at Botra Bus Service in 2006. I then opened my Company in 2010 but it started operating in terms of generating income in 2015.
8. Tell us about the fleet you’re running, how many buses, type of services rendered and does it also include private/special hires?
We are running a fleet of 18 semi-luxury vehicles that ranges with seating capacities. We have 8 x 65 seaters, 3 x 34 seaters, 1 x 79 seater, 3 x 15 seaters and 3 x 22 seaters of which:
3 of the 34 Seaters are contracted by the Department of Agriculture for transporting their staff from Botshabelo and Thaba’Nchu to Glen and back daily.
3 of the 65 Seaters are contracted at Boitumelong Special School to transport learners from Botshabelo to Thaba’Nchu and back daily.
the 79 Seater is contracted by Interstate Bus Lines for operating their shifts
the rest of the 15, 22 and 65 seaters are for private hire trips.
9. As a female there are challenges especially in a world perceived to be male dominated, what is your experience like as a female in this business?
So far I have 2 main challenges. One being that people out there whether being our competitors or customers in general still perceive this company as my father’s. Even with those that know I am the owner of the company still think this was some sort of a hand-out from my father. My father is the kind of person who believes that as a person you should work hard for what you want to earn. Which is what is happening in my case. I believe I am working very hard for everything I earn. Two is that most of my staff are male and are older. Some were originally employed by Botra Bus Service for years and they were managed by Mr. Mphuthi. This kind of change of being managed by a female is a challenge in a sense that it affects our daily operation and communication negatively.
10. CSI projects, are you in any to improve the life’s of the Botshabelo community?
We do participate in giving donations especially within Botshabelo. But before we donate to any entity we analyse as to who the project will be beneficial to. We like to donate to projects that are beneficial to the whole community in order to either improve their lives or some sort of a starting tool for them to make a living for themselves. We are donating to Schools, Churches, Police Forums, Orphanage Homes and Old Age Homes.
11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Our vision is to be one of the well-known service providers in the Free State Province. We want to be well known by providing best service and creating employment.
Best Service: This can be achievable by increasing our fleet while continuously improving our standard of service.
Creating employment: The bigger the company the better because it will be an opportunity for people to get employed.