The best MAN for the job
With the Southern African Bus Operators Association (Saboa) conference coming up in March, we decided to catch up with MAN to discuss the company’s plans and expectations for the conference. CLAIRE RENCKEN reports.
Saboa is known and respected as the voice of the bus industry and represents its members at national and provincial level with government. It also fulfills a watchdog function regarding policy and legislation, facilitates training and negotiates benefits for its members.
This year, the association will have its annual national conference and exhibition on March 4 and 5, at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.
At this year’s conference MAN will showcase the innovative RR9 high-floor bus, which has a 186 kW (250 hp), Euro-5 rear-mounted engine. “Our team of experts – from sales and product, with the technical know-how, to our financial services specialists – will be on hand to assist,” says Philip Kalil-Zackey, head of bus sales at MAN Truck & Bus South Africa.
MAN’s association with Saboa goes back many years, according to MAN’s MD Geoff du Plessis. “MAN has been involved in the sponsorship of many conferences, provincial meetings and the Saboa technical weekend. MAN has always been a key part of the Saboa executive and has been actively involved as an associate member,” he explains.
Andrew Mark, head of department – bus retail, at MAN, adds: “The Saboa conference is a great follow-on to the recently held Saboa strategic planning workshop (which took place in January). It is also a fantastic networking opportunity for us – we can reach over 400 people through this event. We also acquire information regarding the latest trends and market developments in areas such as bus rapid transit (BRT) and integrated transport solutions. This enables us to ensure that our technical products are in line with current and future expectations.”
Kalil-Zackey concludes: “This year, the minister of transport will be the guest speaker on the first day of the conference, which is of great interest to us, as it enables us to gain more insight on the government’s transport strategy. The conference is also a great platform for us to receive feedback directly from the bus operators on the day-to-day challenges they face. This information allows us, as an original equipment manufacturer, to understand their needs in order to look for opportunities and develop strategies to support their operations.”