For the winners of Durban’s City Logistics Driver of the Year competition, their jobs were about driving the economy despite spending long hours on the road and weeks away from their families. And the sacrifice, they said, was worth it.
Following rigorous written and practical tests earlier this month, Lovemore Ncube, 48, was named the logistic company’s top long haul driver and Retish Rughoobeer, 34, their top distribution driver. The company employs about 1 000 drivers, of whom 10 were shortlisted from the two divisions – 18 wheelers and fixed vehicles.
National Transport Manager at the company Dane Clack said the awards were not only about rewarding the best, but motivating staff who spend long hours on the roads delivering valuable goods in vehicles that carry a value of anything up to R2 million.
“We have drivers who will drive from Durban to Namibia twice a week,” he said. “And all they do in the day is watch that ragged white line disappearing under the wheels. It’s a tough and lonely job. This competition is about rewarding those drivers who are passionate and dedicated.”
The shortlisted drivers were required to complete a 45-minute written test before being put through their driving paces at the Road Traffic Inspectorate testing ground at La Mercy. The two were awarded the top prize of R10 000 each, which they said they would spend on their families.
Clack said the standard of both the written and practical tests was beyond expectations. “We were
so impressed with the standard of all the 20 drivers – in fact the guys who won were probably those who could cope with the stress better on the day. For their practical tests they were watched by some of our clients and their colleagues. That can be tough and unsettling,” he said. Ncube, who has been driving
for 14 years, said whenever he set out on a long haul trip he prayed. “I always think when I am driving that I am saving the nation’s economy,” he said. His worst fear, he said, was drivers who did not obey the rules of the road, and bad visibility. “I have seen some terrible accidents. That’s why I always pray when I get into my truck. I am always driving safely,” he said.
Rughoobeer, who has been behind the wheel for 16 years, said he loved the people he worked with. “I deliver to all our big customers and I get to know a lot of the people. I really enjoy that,” he said. His worst nightmare was commuter taxis that took chances on the roads.
Both men said they were “just lucky” to be awarded the Driver of the Year award. they said.
Look out for Rughoobeer and Ncube on the roads, as both will now drive City Logistics trucks emblazoned with their Driver of the Year accolade.
Originally published in the Mercury on Wednesday 31st of August 2016 by Coleen Dardagan.