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