After announcing the formation of the Truckers Association of South Africa (TASA) in July, emerging road freight transporters from all over the country came together for TASA’s first national conference held earlier this month at the Midrand Conference Centre in Gauteng. The conference was held under the theme: ‘Radically transforming the road freight sector in South Africa’.
“The theme of the conference clearly indicates that we are not ashamed to be associated with radical economic transformation as we feel the majority of our people deserve a share of the road freight transport sector. We are organised in a way that enables us to bring change in the industry and cannot continue to be beggars,” said TASA President, Mary Phadi.
The association was launched in July 2017 with the aim of representing owner drivers, small transport providers as well as emerging cargo carriers for fuel, steel, gas, coal, sugar, and chemicals.
The keynote speaker was former African Union Chairperson and Member of Parliament, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who received a warm welcome as delegates erupted in song when she took to the podium.
“The majority of the people in this country are not part of the mainstream economy and this status quo cannot remain. Political freedom will not be sustained without economic freedom. Therefore the economy needs to be radically transformed, otherwise the country will face a bleak future.” she said. She also praised TASA for promoting a women agenda.
Monde Faku, senior researcher and founding member of the Centre of Entrepreneurial Research and Development, outlined the economic contribution of the transport sector as follows: Mining at R285 billion; manufacturing at R420-billion and agriculture at R73-billion.
Deputy Director-General: Manufacturing Enterprises at the Department of Public Enterprises, Kgathatso Tlhakudi, said government has a responsibility to level the playing field as it relates to procurement. “As TASA, you know the transport sector better and are able to tell government what you want. Even though you have a small asset base, you can leverage it to get things you want,” Tlhakudi said.
Others who spoke and gave messages of support were Japh Chuwe, CEO of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) and Tonny Molise, Chairman and CEO of INHALT-Communication Group. Professor Chris Malikane, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) also addressed delegates with the focus on South Africa’s financial system.
“We have seen monopoly of the transport value chain by a few companies. TASA should therefore challenge the status quo. There have also been submissions by various people on how the financial sector in South Africa is untransformed. The association should thus strive to be its own financial solution,” Professor Malikane said.
The conference ended with the adoption of the Constitution and Code of Conduct.
The national office bearers of TASA were announced as being: President, Mary Phadi; Deputy President, Roann Vetter; Secretary, Queen Zwane; Deputy Secretary, Kabelo Moloi and Treasurer, Thalitha Mathebula.