A joint initiative between Masithwalisane Bomama Women project and the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works is helping women take the first step on the road to becoming legal drivers.
Fifty women from Marikana, Lower Crossroads and surrounds received free learner’s licence tuition on Tuesday August 13 at the Mxenge Community Hall.
The classes were organised by the women’s project led by Pastor Ntobekhaya Nyama-Plati.
She said as part of Women’s Month she decided to approach the Department of Transport to help women learn.
The never compromising pastor said she hoped the initiative would have an impact on the lives of the beneficiaries and their communities where there was a high rate of unemployment and poverty.
“When we approached them, they were excited and showed willingness. But I knew that many of us have nothing in our pockets to afford these classes to obtain a driver’s licence. As you have seen, the women are seeing the benefits of empowering themselves. They are eager to learn. If we have a way, we will ask for them to continue and do the actual licences,” she told Vukani.
Pastor Nyama-Plati is a strong advocate for the empowerment of women.
She said focus had never been on women learning to drive and yet they were good drivers.
“When it comes to driving, men are always up front. There is a need to empower women, especially those in previously disadvantaged areas. They have never had opportunities to drive. It is about time that we show that as women we are better drivers. By this initiative we also seek to level the playing fields,” she told Vukani.
Asked if the initiative would be extended to other areas, she said there was a plan to do so.
She called on men to help women obtain driver’s licences and said black women were the last group to get driver’s licences.
One participant in the programme, Zukhanye Gqola from Lower Crossroads, has longed to get a driver’s licence but could not afford it. She was extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend the leaner’s licence classes.
“I always wanted to do this but circumstances did not allow it. I have always been willing to be a driver and now here is an opportunity for me and other women. I am also grateful to Masithwalisane Bomama and its leader for offering us this. We promise not to let her down. We will go all the way and pass the test,” she said.
Trainer from the Department of Transport’s Road Safety Management, Anthony September, encouraged the trainees to obtain their licences through the correct process.
Mr September warned them that getting papers illegally will not benefit them but only the fraudsters.
“We all know accidents on the roads are caused mostly by those who went to the back door. Statistical we are losing more than 14 000 people in car accidents a year. If they go the right and legal way, they will help us not to lose so many people in accidents,” he said.
He commended the women for coming forward and asking to be helped legally. But he said there was still a long way to go because there was still the driver’s licence test to pass.
But he said he was confident they would all succeed.