ISUZU Motors South Africa continues to champion diversity, inclusion and belonging

As we conclude disability rights awareness month, ISUZU Motors South Africa, whose workforce consists of 5% of people who are differently abled, actively strives for diverse representation in its workplace where everyone feels that they belong.

“As an internationally recognised Top Employer spearheading transformation in the automotive industry, ISUZU Motors South Africa is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment to ensure all employees feel a sense of belonging and are treated with respect and dignity”, says ISUZU’s Senior Vice President, Human Capital, and Corporate Affairs, Mongezi Hermans.

ISUZU acknowledges that anyone’s ability status may change at any time and encourages everyone not to be afraid to declare their differently abled status. Two incredibly resilient differently abled employees of ISUZU share their story:

Craig Fouche

Craig’s employment with ISUZU started in 1996 during the Delta Motor Corporation days in the drawing office as a 3D specialist working on Unigraphics. He then moved into Engineering and thereafter planning programme management. He has been part of the planning and programme management team at ISUZU for the past 23 years and is a second-generation employee following in his father’s footsteps who also worked for Delta and GM.

“I have what is often termed or called a ‘hidden disability’. Externally I appear normal, but I underwent kidney failure which necessitated a kidney transplant, graciously donated by my wife, who thankfully was a compatible match.

The donor list is extremely long, and I urge everyone to consider being an organ donor –you save about 25 lives being an organ donor,” says Fouche.

He requires lifelong specialised medication to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ. Consequently, he must exercise extreme caution regarding outside contact to minimise infection risks. This was especially challenging during COVID.

“At work and when going to retail stores, I must wear a N95 mask which is tricky as sometimes people look at me strangely.” 

“ISUZU has been extremely accommodating of my and others’ special needs and ensures adequate facilities are available to us to be able to continue to operate in the normal course of business,” adds Fouche.

During COVID remote work became the norm and the company permitted Craig to continue working from home so that he doesn’t have to wear a mask all the time. His medication requires frequent hydration which is impeded when he is using a mask.

ISUZU has custom-built a protected screen for Craig to use when he is in the office. Tailored to his height it incorporates COVID shields offering him added protection while seated at his desk.

“The company is well-versed in my circumstances and my specific requirements related to my disability. My message to the wider world is not to overlook people with disabilities even if those whose disabilities are not immediately evident. We want a normal life just like anyone else,” he concludes.

Daniel Geswindt

Daniel lives with a neurological disorder which requires him to use a wheelchair. Several years ago, he began experiencing numbness in his leg leading to an operation that unveiled a spinal cord tumour rendering him unable to walk. Every day he diligently works towards strengthening his body, aspiring to regain the ability to sit up straight and walk. Daniel, a married man, and father of four wonderful children, received unwavering support from his family. 

Like Craig, Daniel commenced his ISUZU journey as a welder during the Delta Motors Corporation days in 1995. He then moved to the salvage material handling as a Scheduled Artisan for nine years before transitioning into Quality and Production process engineering currently known as Manufacturing Technical Support.

“I pride myself on being hardworking, self-motivated, self-assured, friendly and possess excellent communication skills. I thrive on acquiring new skills and readily embrace any new challenge. Despite my disability I am steadfastly loyal, honest and compete with other engineers through sheer dedication.

What motivates me the most are my children who tell me ‘Daddy don’t worry, we are here and will support you’.”

“Throughout my journey, ISUZU has been an incredible support system. My manager personally visited me when I was in hospital and offered reassurance that I needn’t worry as ISUZU has my back. The office facilities have been adapted to suit my requirements. I am 55 years and I feel lucky”.

“My message to the world is to never lose hope – dare to dream big even if you feel disappointed. Try your best no matter what,” says Geswindt.

ISUZU is committed to ensuring that everyone contributes towards creating a diverse, inclusive and equitable environment where all people can have a sense of belonging.