By Patrick O’Leary
April 25th was a great day of celebration for Daimler Truck Southern Africa Ltd (DTSA) with the official opening of its new headquarters and business campus in Centurion, Gauteng. Situated on 12 hectares, the new facility houses DTSA’s head offices, training facilities, new and used retail facilities as well as a dedicated Daimler Truck Financial Services company.
The importance of the occasion – described by Michael Dietz, President and CEO of DTSA as a sign of the solid commitment of the DTSA Group of companies to its customers, South Africa and the entire southern African region – was highlighted by the presence not only of the Board of Directors of DTSA but also by top level management from Daimler Truck AG in Germany.
Among others, dignitaries included Karin Radstrom, member of the Board of Management Daimler Truck AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Trucks as well as Stephan Unger, Member of the Board of Management Daimler Truck AG and Head of Financial Services. Also present was South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Economic Development, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, who officially cut the ribbon with help of Dietz. (It was a massive scissors).
A man who caught the heart of the audience was Andreas Peschke, German Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa/eSwatini/Lesotho who interspersed his English with perfect vernacular phrases. It was the much beloved late Nelson Mandela who said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Well the Ambassador got into many hearts on the day. Guests included customers, dealers, suppliers and other stakeholders.
Putting the ‘song and dance’ celebration aside, what struck me was the fact that at a time when South Africa has extremely serious problems on the political, social and economic fronts, it can count itself extremely fortunate that there are organisations like DTSA which are still prepared to commit massive investments (this one alone is R170-million which forms part of the R190-million investment promise made by DTSA at the 2022 Investment Conference) into what is, in essence, an extremely tumultuous country. Load shedding alone is causing havoc and has forced many companies – particularly smaller companies – into closing their doors. It has also created a climate of investment uncertainty and hesitancy.
In my opinion, the opening of the DTSA facility was an occasion which inspired hope in the future. If only our political leaders would emulate this attitude for it is all the right stuff. To be honest, it is the first time in a long time that I got goose-bumps when the South African national anthem was sung; led not by the Deputy Minister or any other ‘dignitary’ but rather by an ordinary ‘man-in-the-street’ – a man by the name of Khaya Nobala, an assembly worker at DTSA’s East London plant. His voice was pure, honest and powerful and served to rouse a spirit of patriotism I haven’t felt for a long time.
It was a day when I felt proud to be closely associated with the trucking sector where players like DTSA are still prepared to commit to keeping the wheels of Africa moving – despite the many negatives.
There is a saying: “Success isn’t just about what you’ve accomplished in your life. It’s all about what you inspire others to do.” Certainly this occasion acted as a mark of DTSA’s accomplishments and success but it also served to inspire us all to go forward with renewed hope for a brighter and more prosperous future. FleetWatch extends its congratulations to all at DTSA and extends our thanks for re-inspiring hope in a climate where ‘hope’ has been substantially diminished.