Sprint Couriers, a 100 percent citizen-owned company, has taken the expression, “women empowerment” to another level by practicing what is being preached.
Under the leadership of Ms Pinkie Setlalekgosi and Ms Michelle Geberial, both Batswana women, Sprint Couriers boasts of being “the first courier company to hire women drivers in Africa”.
Sprint Couriers was first established in 2006 and 6 years later it has employed 8 women drivers, ranging from light duty drivers to the likes of 34-year-old Catherine Mfanenyane who holds a heavy duty licence and drives an 8 tonne delivery truck.
The practices at Sprint Couriers Botswana are well within the parameters of the women empowerment principles launched by the United Nations Development Fund for women in 2009.
These principles put a lot of emphasis on corporate actions promoting gender equality and women empowerment.
“Women empowerment principles seek to point the way to best practice by elaborating the gender dimension of good corporate citizenship.”
According to Lesego Rapelana, another female driver who has since been promoted to being a supervisor thus overseeing approximately 30 people, “It was a tough and hostile male-dominated area when we first arrived on the scene.”
Rapelana also stated that their male counterparts were at first condescending and would even assist them out of spite but have since become helpful and operate as one unit.
Commercial Director, Ms Setlalekgosi, attributes the company’s success to her perfectionist mentality and states that her being a near impossible customer forces her to the perfect service provider.
She claims that she has undertaken the role of mentor, as well as employer and encourages her employees to “work hard for their money” and put their families first.
In her 26-year-old career, Setlalekgosi states that she was first hired as a sales representative and she gradually climbed up the corporate ladder in the courier industry until she finally established her own. She stated that, in this business, employees need to be able to think on their feet and be able to manage their time efficiently as the job can take up most of their time.
Regarding the maternity policy of the company Human Resource Manager, Roy Jeremiah, explained that the women are encouraged to work for at least 2 years prior to falling pregnant but during pregnancy, they are temporarily replaced by back up drivers until they are ready to resume their duties.
Jeremiah also stated that in his experience with working with both men and women, he found it easier to work with women, citing that cases of absenteeism, misconduct and even theft in the workplace was more commonly associated with the male employees.
Setlalekgosi is also a firm believer in training their personnel and “wants to see all Batswana successful in their field of expertise”.
She indicated that not only does Sprint Couriers have incentives in place for their employees, management also makes it a point to provide the best possible working conditions and also some perks, like meals during working hours.
Sprint Couriers boasts of 26 local branches across the country, one in South Africa and 9 in Zimbabwe.