In this exclusive ESI Africa interview, Anazi Zote Piper, SMA Mobility & Stakeholder Manager, speaks to Founder and CEO of Africa SmatTrans Nthabiseng Mehale about creating a new urban mobility system in South Africa.
Since speaking at Smarter Mobility Africa summit 2022 Mehale has been making further strides in developing infrastructure in the mobility sector.
Question: How have you made your mark as a woman in the transport sector?
Firstly, I am a transport specialist having a qualification in BTech Transportation.? I have been in policy and regulation most of my career. I worked for the National Department of Transport in the policy and implementation section.? We were driving multimodal transport through rolling out the establishment of Transport Authorities nationally.? Then, I was in the infrastructure, construction, property and housing industries.?
I believe I have came full circle as they are inter-related.? In my career I have been able to uncover and realise transformative opportunities especially for women-owned businesses. I have recieved an award in SMME development for my efforts. I also previously held various positions as a National Manager, Regional Manager, Executive Director of a Real Estate Investment Trust and Managing Director of a property company.
During the COVID-19 pandemic I was part of a facilitation team with GetSmarter, the 2U subsidiary in South Africa for a MIT School of Planning and Architecture; Self Driving Cars and the future of Reals Estate. It was at that time that I started a consulting business, Africa SmartTrans, to advise on policy, mobility, logistics, public transport, infrastructure development, sustainability and urbanism.
Question: What developments in the mobility sector are you looking forward to?
As we all know, the world is changing, with a drive towards protecting our environment and more alignment and adoption of UN SDG goals. I am gravitating along the same principles, thus making me an advocate of sustainable cities with free carbon emission mobilities.
My interest is in shared mobility, on-demand and micro mobility going electrical or autonomous or hydrogen. ?These changes need to be supported by reconfiguring infrastructure that will ensure an urban mobility ecosystem designed for green living and compatibility with mobility hubs.
Question: If you were declared the Minister of Transport today, what would be your first decree?
I would introduce radical changes to policy for sustainability mobility solutions:
- Short term: EV and Hydrogen revolution; shared mobilities (All municipal busses) to be EV/Hydrogen; and subsiding infrastructure and its use.
- Medium Term: Autonomous revolution; freight, on-demand and micro mobilities to be EV or hydrogen and phasing out of diesel cars.
- Long Term: Real estate revolution; changes to curb side, parking, residential, retail, commercial and logistics real estate ongoing