“Covid post-mortem – Can we fix or train our way out of the chaos”, was the theme of this year’s Transport Symposium that was hosted by the North-West University (NWU) and the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA) from 12 to 13 October 2022.
The symposium focused on major post-Covid pandemic issues facing the sector, from industry’s as well as an academic (research) perspective.
The ultimate consensus was that the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant and unfathomable collective impact on people, businesses, and the entire economy. The subsequent widespread lethargy and general disinterest that many people and organisations have adopted in the wake of the pandemic is evident. “There is a reluctance to just pick up the pieces and carry on as normal, since this is uncharted ground,” says Karen Visser, lecturer in transport economics and logistics management at the NWU.
According to Karen, the goal of the symposium was to gather renowned high-level participants in a workshop setting to discuss and exchange knowledge and share recommendations on how to navigate the turmoil combatting the consequential effects of Covid-19.
“It is crucial to gather influential decision-makers in the South African transportation sector around a metaphorical table when major problems are being solved and decisions are being made,” she adds.
Key speakers included Gavin Kelly (CEO: RFA), Dr Alistair Mokwena (CEO: Google South Africa), Prof Biju Kumar Thapalia (Dean: Faculty of Management, Purbanchal University in Nepal), Bafana Mkhwebane, (Director: Taxis, Department of Transport) Simon Ssekabira (Director: Research, Department of Transport), Ramodise Tsolo and Ouma Mashabane Ledwaba, (executives from the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA).
The NWU was also extensively represented, with Prof Linda Du Plessis, deputy vice-chancellor for planning and Vanderbijlpark Campus operations, and Prof Sonia Swanepoel, deputy vice-chancellor for community engagement and Mahikeng Campus operations among the representatives.
Retrospectively, the ultimate objective was to have a concentrated panel discussion on a formalised platform where all significant industry players work together to find answers to problems that are currently plaguing the transportation industry and other related fields as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The industry’s commitment to building a better future, was evident in the high level of engagement and commitment shown during the event and in contributions made to successive agreements and contributions.
Despite the less-than-ideal attendance brought on by the ongoing transport sector strike, Karen says the event was a great success.
All presentations as well as findings and recommendations from the symposium are available – please contact Karen at Karen.email@example.com or 073 051 1780.
Karen Visser, lecturer in transport economics and logistics management at the NWU, and Simon Ssekabira, director for research at the Department of Transport.