Eva Maluleke is grateful for the support she received from her male counterpart who groomed her to be a better taxi operator.
Maluleke, who stays in Namakgale near Phalaborwa, owns three minibus taxis – an old Inyathi model and two Toyota Quantums.
At a time when a lot of women are looked down by men in the minibus taxi industry, Maluleke believes his male counterparts are not mistreating her.
According to the WHO, South Africa has one of the highest rates of Violence against Women in the world. Victims of Gender-Based Violence include men, women, and children; however, there is a general consensus that women and children are disproportionately affected and hence bear the more significant burden of such assaults.
“I work with men, and they treat me just like their member and colleague. Some of the things that are said about men are scary, but I have not encountered them in my time since I joined this association,” says Maluleke.
“All of these men are still operating with me since I became a member, and they look after me very well.”
She joined the association in 1995 when the county was just a year into a new democracy following the 1994 democratic elections when the industry was still at a fragmentation stage.
Maluleke believes that the taxi sector, which is still dominated by men, can even save itself from being seen as a den for criminal elements masquerading as business people to being a new and exciting platform that can relate too.
With Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula being at the forefront of championing the cause of the sector to be professionalized and transformed to be a fully-fledged business, Maluleke believes that government can make the industry better.
“I support what the Minister is saying about that taxi industry as the main future dominant sector in the country if we can all put all our money where our mouths are,” says Maluleke.
The industry could be the most significant investment sector of choice for both local and international investors.
Her Women’s Month message is simple. She wishes that all women in the public transport sector could work and be strong-minded like street vendors who work and toil as if there is no tomorrow.
“They should not fold their arms and think that men would work for them. No! Instead, women should focus on their progress,” says Maluleke.