Clean energy not yet an option for South Africa transport, says Yandisa Sokhanyile
In this exclusive ESI Africa interview Anazi Zote Piper, SMA Mobility Content & Stakeholder Manager, speaks to KONECTA Founder and Chief Digital Officer Yandisa Sokhanyile about the use of clean energy in South Africa’s transport sector.
Since speaking at Smarter Mobility Africa summit 2022, Yandisa Sokhanyile been making her mark in efforts to digitally transforming the transport sector.
Question: How have you made your mark as a woman in the Transport Sector?
I honestly believe this is a long-term journey, the one that I enjoy every day and I hope through my actions and seeds that I plant daily I will eventually say I have made my mark. My goal is to make an impact and bring about the much-needed improvement in the transport sector through technology.
Transport is the driver of any economy and a crucial part in moving the economy forward whether its commuting passenger or transportation of goods. My goal is to ensure that the sector is digitally transformed and also opportunities are created for women to play a vital role in this sector.
I personally provide a lot of thought leadership and advise different stakeholders in creating a digitally transformed transport ecosystem. As a business we have developed the first multi modal route planner for Gauteng Province (Gauteng On The Move App), the first of its kind in the country. We are also providing affordable data packages for drivers and riders operating in the Mobility-as-a-Service platforms and Mobility on demand.
Question: What clean energy developments in the Transport sector are you looking for?
I am looking forward to the growth of electric transport. Green and clean energy is not a choice right now, but it is a what we all need to be striving for. We are already feeling the impact of global warming and we owe it to the next generation to ensure that this world is still a safer place for humanity.
I am also looking at the many opportunities for local manufacturing and production of these vehicles or even components. It is high time we grow local manufacturing in the automotive sector, this can also improve accessibility of transport and create the much-needed jobs.
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Question: If you were the Minister of Transport, what would be your first decree?
This is a critical role, as the Transport Minister has to deal with different modes of transportation from air, water to land with focus on passenger and freight. Our biggest problem is the disparity in our transport systems – our public transport is not efficient or easily accessible, which drives the need for private cars leading to higher carbon emission.
I would start with these 3 areas: Firstly I would digitise routes to ensure that the Department can get live transport feeds and live data which is crucial for decision making and ability to disperse public transport correctly. This would help the taxi industry with routes planning and make sure the distribution is done in an effective manner that services the demand. The use of geo-fencing will help to curb the fight for routes amongst the taxi owners. If routes are digitised, it opens up business opportunities for deliveries into township and also creates new business models.
Secondly, for rail I would put emphasis on upgrading rail infrastructure. Rail is still the cheapest form of transportation for commuters. Improve freight rail and transportation of goods – in that way we can free up the roads, decrease the number of road accidents caused by trucks and most importantly build more export capacity for the country.
Thirdly for commuters I would make public transport accessible and efficient by integrating all public transport modes and have one travel app for the country and make sure public transport information is available, trackable and commuters can pay with one app or card for all transport modes regardless of the province they are in. Ensure passenger safety in the transport hubs and adopt a public transport on demand model to ensure commuters do not spend over 4 hours daily commuting.