Paulus Mkhize is the third best driver in the Daim­ler Group. Learn why he is also a hero on PAGE 2.

Well- trained and con­stantly mon­i­tored driv­ers plead with pas­sen­ger car driv­ers to go slower

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

MON­DAY’S tanker ex­plo­sion down the Town­hill sec­tion of the N3 shows again how im­por­tant pa­tient driv­ers are.

In the en­su­ing probe into the cause of the crash that closed the south­bound high­way for days, it is how­ever im­por­tant to re­mem­ber the 6 000 truck driv­ers who safely steer their be­he­moths down the N3 every day. These are the he­roes who lit­er­ally de­liver our econ­omy day and night, which is why Wheels sup­ports the com­pa­nies who last week hon­oured their best driv­ers and tech­ni­cians in South Africa — three of whom op­er­ate from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg.

In Gaut­eng, Mercedes- Benz hosted SA’s top driv­ers and fleet me­chan­ics who recorded the top 10 high­est scores in the 2015 FleetBoard Driv­ers’ League.

FleetBoard is a driver mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem for all four of the Daim­ler Group’s truck brands: Mercedes- Benz, Freight­liner, Western Star and Fuso. In or­der to be el­i­gi­ble for reg­is­tra­tion, driv­ers must cover at least 4 000 km a month and use FleetBoard. Over 19 000 driv­ers in 18 coun­tries took part in the pe­riod from June 1 to Oc­to­ber 31, 2015 and, based on their FleetBoard per­for­mance anal­y­sis, the best over­all driver and the best over­all team of the na­tions were an­nounced last week.

HEN­DRICKS BEST IN THE WORLD

In the world­wide 2015 rank­ings, Mar­shall Hen­dricks ( 30) from Im­pe­rial Fast’n Fresh in Cape Town achieved the high­est score of 9,95 out of a pos­si­ble 10.

Hen­drick told Wheels he wanted to drive trucks ever since he watched lor­ries load­ing fruit at the farm he lived on near Cale­don as a boy. He started out on Code 10 trucks, and be­cause he has the at­ti­tude fleet man­agers look for in a pro­fes­sional driver, he was soon snapped up and of­fered a learn­er­ship to qual­ify on su­per­link trucks by Fast’n Fresh.

His col­league Pi­eter Adri­aanse ( 52) took sec­ond po­si­tion, fol­lowed by Paulus Mkhize ( 59) from Wil­low­ton Lo­gis­tics in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg.

SA’s top 10 FleetBoard driv­ers also in­cluded Moses Nkosi, who drives for Nor­man­dien Farms, based in Pine­town. Proud man­ager Richard van der Merwe said, “Moses was not even com­pet­ing, he was just driv­ing as he al­ways does”. As is the case with F1 rac­ers, a trucker re­lies to­tally on the tech­ni­cal team to en­sure the ve­hi­cle works op­ti­mally.

Cor­nelius Koeke­moer is one such me­chanic who helped the driv­ers of An­der­sons Truck­ing’s de­pot in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg achieve the sec­ond high­est score among fleets in the lo­cal FleetBoard com­pe­ti­tion, af­ter Makali and ahead of Plan­ta­tion ( third).

Row­lands Peters, head of FleetBoard South Africa told Wheels FleetBoard was not just a scor­ing sys­tem, but im­proved a driver’s skills. “When that takes place, we have safer driv­ers and safer roads.

“Of course, it gives me great plea­sure to know that the best driver within the global FleetBoard Driv­ers’ League com­pe­ti­tion is from South Africa,” said Peters.

MAIN MAN AT MANLINE

Driv­ing in the latest MAN trucks for Manline, Nduna Chari’s driv­ing style is rated among the best by MAN’s TeleM­at­ics pro­gramme, which is very sim­i­lar to Daim­ler’s FleetBoard. When Chari joined Manline he was asked to fill a form stat­ing where he saw him­self in five years’ time in terms of his ca­reer.

“I in­di­cated that I wanted to be a top driver within two years,” said Nduna.

And true to his word, soon af­ter join­ing Manline he be­gan bag­ging award aft- er award. In 2011, he was cho­sen New Driver of the Year. In 2012, he was placed sec­ond as Driver of the Year. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, he came first as Driver of the Year from 140 driv­ers em­ployed by Manline.

Last year, Wheels re­ported on Nduna be­ing cho­sen by MAN Truck & Bus South Africa to pro­mote the new MAN TGX 26.540 6x4 Ef­fi­cien­tLine on its maiden six- week voy­age across nine African coun­tries, cross­ing 11 bor­der posts, and cov­er­ing a to­tal dis­tance of 13 234 kms. Upon his re­turn from this “ONE MAN kann” jour­ney, Nduna was ap­pointed driver trainer at Manline.

DON’T BE EARLY FOR YOUR DEATH

When asked why he is such a good driver, Nduna said he was con­sis­tent, which is “part of my cul­ture”.

“I have a pas­sion for my job. In ad­di­tion, I ex­er­cise a tremen­dous amount of pa­tience, which is im­por­tant to en­sure the safety of all road users, the ve­hi­cle and the goods be­ing trans­ported.”

The cause in the tanker crash on the N3 is yet to be for­mally an­nounced, but eye- wit­ness Ra­jesh Singh wrote to say he saw the driver of a white Toy­ota Tazz try to shoot past the tanker only to slam on the brakes as the Tazz clipped a Bob­cat in the con­struc­tion zone.

A re­tired haz­ardous chem­i­cal trucker who was rated top in Mid­dle East and Africa re­gion, Sa­muel Makhathini from Eden­dale, said such im­pa­tience is the norm when­ever there are de­lays on any high­way, and pleaded with driv­ers in pas­sen­ger cars to be pa­tient. “Rather be a lit­tle bit late for your ap­point­ment than make other peo­ple decades early for their deaths,” Makhathini said.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Pas­sion­ate about safety and able to ex­er­cise an enor­mous amount of pa­tience, Nduna Chari, top driver turned driver trainer at Manline in Mkon­deni.

PHOTO: AL­WYN VILJOEN

En­sur­ing safer truck driv­ing from Mar­itzburg, for­mer driver cham­pion and now driver trainer at BK Ad­vanced Train­ing Bert Kon­ing; top driver for Wil­low­ton Lo­gis­tics and third best in SA, Paulus Mkhize; and Cor­nelius Koeke­moer, truck me­chanic for sec­ond most eco­nom­i­cal fleet, An­der­sons Trans­port.

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