Speech by Franco Pisapia – MD PUTCO Ltd
Date: 18 November 2006
Mayors in attendance
Chief of Police
Representative from SASOL
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good morning.
Thank you for taking the time to be with us to celebrate our latest programme in road safety for our passengers. It is always a great pleasure to address the communities in which we operate.
We are here to hand over five new patrol vehicles to the Mpumalanga department of transport to showcase other monitoring vehicles, which will monitor our buses on this stretch of the Moloto Road. In an effort to improve road safety, and also to re-affirm our commitment to providing a safe mode of transport along our routes travelled.
We trust that these vehicles will make a significant contribution toward the road safety in this area and ensure that PUTCO buses adhere to the highest safety standards.
We have been alarmed by the high number of accidents and fatalities, especially along the Moloto Road and we believe, as a responsible corporate citizen, that by being proactive we can address the high accident rates on this stretch of road.
The safety of all our passengers is of paramount importance to PUTCO. To ensure this, we have decided to invest a total of 13 vehicles to road safety and five specifically to the Nkangala region to increase visibility of law enforcement officers to monitor driver behaviour and also assist in the prosecution of offenders.
In October PUTCO allocated three vehicles to the Road Traffic Management Council (RTMC) to monitor the R573 Kwa-Mhlanga stretch of road and we will later deploy more vehicles to other areas of our operations to ensure that the motorist and especially our bus drivers, adhere to traffic laws.
I have also urged all PUTCO drivers to be particularly vigilant and ensure that they use this period to improve their driving habits and etiquette on the road. I also urge our commuters to leave their homes on time and not to pressurise our drivers into speeding or disobeying road traffic rules. This however, this can only be achieved with the full cooperation of our commuters. We all need to respect the rules of the road.
Being in the passenger transportation business we can never over emphasise the need to uphold the highest levels of safety standards. This comes not only from the drivers’ perspective, but also from a maintenance and operational perspective. In all we do as a leading bus company, safety remains a paramount consideration.
Road and transport safety is a collective effort requiring a collaborative effort by all users. The presence of our esteemed guests from the Mpumalanga Provincial Government is heart warming as it is evidence of the seriousness and recognition that road safety is supreme.
I began by outlining the reasons for our gathering here today. The first was to talk about the 13 monitoring vehicles. The second was to reaffirm our commitment to providing safe transport along the Mpumalanga routes.
We are committed to safety for our passengers and we have developed a holistic safety programme based on the following pillars:
- Our driver selection and training
- Vehicle safety and maintenance and in an unfortunate accident occurrence, medical road assistance.
We are also working closely with the Mpumalanga traffic authorities to improve passenger safety and overall road conditions. We have also appointed an independent agency to manage commuter complaints/complements and record reported incidents of bad driving.
I would like to emphasise that road safety promotion is an integral part of our business, to this end PUTCO has put in place a number of interventions to promote and entrench safety in the mindsets of all its employees.
PUTCO drivers are selected after having gone through stringent evaluation and they undergo further intensive training before being allowed to transport passengers. Drivers also attend refresher courses on an ongoing basis. In addition, our vehicles are regularly tested and are maintained by our technical staff, working in well equipped workshops.
These elements are all part of our ongoing safety programme, which is aimed at ensuring that our passengers can travel with total peace of mind.
On the operational front, PUTCO has a bus replacement programme, which is strictly adhered to. This ensures that our fleet remains safe, reliable and complies with standards as set out by the SABS.
We also support our government's safety campaign such as the Arrive Alive campaign and the Driver of the Year competition. These highly commendable initiatives are meant to promote safety on the roads by both drivers and pedestrians.
Looking ahead, I cannot help but feel excited at the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, such as our recently announced BBBEE share scheme and our relationships with other stakeholders, including government.
Corporate Social Investment is increasingly playing a more prominent role in supporting growth and development in the educational sector. The spotlight is progressively falling on public-private partnerships, which aims to achieve a common goal, namely providing top quality education to the millions of students in South Africa.
The PUTCO CSI Foundation’s aim is to improve the quality of life of the communities in which PUTCO operates. Our major focus has always been on education
Since its inception in 1982 the Foundation has provided bursaries to students at Medunsa, the Tshwane University of Technology, the Vaal University of Technology, the University of Johannesburg and the University of Pretoria.
I am pleased to say that we have funded the education of over 21 medical doctors since 1982.
We are also a major sponsor of the Star Schools project, which has already helped thousands of high school learners through the years . In partnership with Shell South Africa we fund an incubation programme that prepares Grade 11 and Grade 12 pupils for matric examinations. So far this programme has produced more than 37 distinctions from 65 students, a commendable feat by any standards.
Annually, the Foundation spends more than R7-million on Corporate Social Investment initiativs
We want to assure our commuters that we will continue to provide a safe and efficient transport service and encourage our valuable customer to report unsafe driving practices.
On behalf of PUTCO, I would like to thank you all for the opportunity to address you and present these new safety initiatives as a token of our gratitude for your support and loyalty over the years.
I Thank you.