Tladi John Ndlovu, Summit driver and entrepreneur, GCM Meter
How did you end
up working for the summit?
A guy won the
contract to do the transport, but there was a condition that he had
to employ disadvantaged people. Some people, when they are down and
out, the only thing they can think to do is to beg. But there are
those who think: "here is an opportunity, what is it I can
do?" If you have ambition, you always try and find out how to
get involved. And this is where I could see I could feature in the
What do you
think of the summit?
We are excited by
it, even if we don't fully understand it. The way it was explained
to us was that we are going to present our situation to our
visitors. And, because they are concerned with development in
Africa, we have been told they will be making certain commitments to
try and end the current situation, where poverty is rife. They'll be
coming up with solutions - creating jobs, helping the country to
move forward in many ways.
What is the
current situation like in South Africa?
I am a man of 47
years - and, for the first time, I have started doing things
independently without relying on anybody. I can make a living for
myself. Before, whether you went to school or not, we were dependent
on others. We had to go to them for employment. But now, if you have
some talent, you can pursue your own career.
We are currently
led by a very intelligent president. He has a real knowledge of what
is expected when running a country. And he has passion towards the
people he is leading. We are not talking about leaders who are power
mongers. We are talking about leaders who are called to lead the
people. Many times we are told, you won't see the tree by its
leaves, but you will see it by its fruits. Some of us are now
enjoying these fruits.
When you look at
what the government is coming up with now, it creates
self-confidence in us, it drives away the fear. We used to worry
about how risk would work out, but now we are not scared to take a
risk because we are confident in this government.
So are things
improving for people?
Yes, they are
improving. Look at these housing projects. The government is trying
its level best to move people away from staying in shacks. I am not
saying it is building big houses, but even these little houses are
really appreciated by people. In places where people did not have
water, they are now beginning to enjoy this advantage. Electricity
is also becoming something for everybody - whereas before it was
just for the privileged.
What does your
I grew up in Soweto,
but we have gradually been moving from one level to another. I am
living in the suburbs now. I am excited by this. And I hope that
everybody will some day enjoy this privilege. I am a man with four
children. The eldest is 22. The only future I can give to my kids is
to work very hard and see to it they get a good education. It's the
I have started a
business as a result of an opportunity from the government, which is
outsourcing services like the reading of water and electricity. We
took advantage of that and I managed to get contracts from Eskom,
the parastatal that is running these services.
The business is a
joint venture with a traditional white company. Some of us,
irrespective of what happened in the past, still believe that black
and white can work together in this country. Things that have been
in the past, we just have to put them aside. There is no way we
could perform to the highest level if we can't work with the people
who have the expertise and the infrastructure. This is why I
personally decided to have a relationship with this white man.
Working with him, if I am honest, has definitely helped us learn a
22 August 2002