Any initiative that aims to make our roads a whole lot safer must be applauded – and Hollard goes the extra mile (excuse the pun) with the annual Highway Heroes awards. Paul Dangerfield, head of operation for Hollard Trucking, says that giving truck drivers the opportunity to win big prizes is a great way to “spread the love” – R200 000 was up for grabs this year and the amount is set to increase next year (along with the added bonus of monthly prizes for drivers).
The competition offers awards across four categories: tankers, tippers, flatbeds and tautliners (with sub-categories including long haul, short haul, cross-border and route-specific).
This year, Hollard named Stephen Meje of Pretoria-based Faith Wheels as truck driver of the year (and winner of the tanker category). Meje took home the grand prize of R100 000 in cash and prizes, beating 1 600 competitors. This is twice the 2017 entry pool of 890 and more than seven times the 220 entrants in the first competition, launched by Regent Commercial Vehicles in 2015 (Regent Commercial Vehicles was incorporated into Hollard Trucking last year).
“I’m overwhelmed…I’m very happy,” he said at the glamorous awards ceremony held in Johannesburg. “The prize means a lot to me, to change my life – to change my family’s life. I’ve never had such money.”
Mark Fourie, director of Faith Wheels, said Meje was driven to win from the outset. “This thing motivated him from the very beginning. Every week he’d come and ask what his score was,” he said, adding that the company’s 64 other drivers are now inspired to drive better and compete. “It’s definitely a win-win,” Fourie said of the value of Hollard Highway Heroes.
For head of Hollard Trucking, Wayne Rautenbach, Hollard Highway Heroes is the perfect manifestation of Hollard’s Better Futures business purpose. “Better Futures informs every aspect of how Hollard does business, in that what we do should create and secure a better future for people,” says Rautenbach. “Highway Heroes does exactly that: it richly rewards our country’s best drivers, benefiting them and their loved ones. It translates to better financial outcomes for their employers, thanks to lower running and maintenance costs, fewer accidents and claims, and better premiums.
“And we all enjoy safer roads because thousands of our country’s truck drivers – those who participated in the competition, as well as the colleagues they inspire – embrace better driving habits.”
The winners of the remaining three categories each received R25 000 in cash and prizes: Martin Langeveldt of SSV (tautliners), Ntsako Mkansi of Digistics (flatdecks) and Lucas Naudé of Grain Carriers (tippers).
The remaining six of the top ten entrants each received R2 500 and the rest of the top 30 (who were shortlisted) each received R1 000. Even the employers of the top four were awarded R5 000 each towards a celebratory braai for their drivers.