Tumelo Kgobe loves his job. He wakes up at 3:30am for his early shifts and at 6:00am on his late days. He prepares his taxi, making sure it’s clean and all the seats and doors are secured. His area covers the West Rand, from Dobsonville Soweto, and Bram Fisher to Roodeport, Florida and the Westgate Mall. His favourite route is through Florida, which has earned him the nickname “Manfloza”.
After 25 years on the same route Manfloza is well known and loved by commuters and fellow taxi drivers for his outspoken and energetic nature. He drives an old white “Zola Budd”, which he says he prefers over the new quantum taxis, which, he says, are big and fancy, but carry a small load and are high maintenance. Though he also works as a manager, driving is his first love because he makes extra cash and enjoys socializing with different people. Manfloza is angry and disappointed with the ruling party as he feels they have not delivered on their promise of a better life.
Tumelo Kgobe, 40,
Taxi driver, West Rand, Gauteng
Vote quote: “I am currently more convinced by the so-called white parties, I am thinking the DA will get my vote, I don’t care what people say, the ANC has not done anything for me.” (Photo: Oupa Nkosi)
“I am a grown up man and yet I still live with my parents in their old little house in Dobsonville, I have three children, they live with their mothers, but I do pay maintenance for them. With the money I make I buy lots of food for my parents and look out for my children. I pay my accounts with whatever I have left. I applied for my own house in 1997, but I am still waiting till today, and nothing is happening. I see people moving into these houses, people who haven’t even applied or applied after me. When we were promised free houses many of us stopped saving to buy houses or applying for loans.
Now we are stuck with no houses and no answers from the government we voted for. I was a proud card carrying, badge-wearing member of the ANC and I voted for them every election, but I refuse to ever vote for them again. They are now threatening my livelihood with the introduction of this new transport system that will ultimately mean I might end up without a job as a taxi driver and taxi manager, because there might not be a taxi industry to speak of. Unlike the white party, I feel the ANC do not have enough experience to govern a country, they seem in over their heads.
They came in to replace and change the mistakes of the old apartheid government. Instead they are oppressing us even further and making our lives worse.
It hurts to have someone take your job away, your livelihood. This time I want to vote for a party that will protect my needs, ensure I don’t lose my job and my industry does not become redundant, because this industry employs thousands of black men who feed their families and services millions of black people around the country. I want to vote for the white party, a party that will put an end to this corruption and endless bureaucracy.
I want a strict party, and I think the white parties are strict and professional, they can put task teams that will come in and check on the various projects started by government and ensure they are executed accordingly and the people meant to receive the services do in-fact get them. This government is literally selling us out for there own benefits, their only concern is making money and that’s the kind of public servants they breed, the police don’t do their work because they are being bought, the people put in charge of housing projects don’t give them to the right people because they are being bought, the cabinet don’t do their job because they are filling their pockets. Mandela was the only one with brains and wisdom, he left some wisdom with the people that succeeded him but now they’ve run short of that wisdom and are robbing their own people.