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Sober Soldiers: a boozer’s best buddy after a tipple or two

Wafiqah Osman-Fisher is the founder of a Sober Soldiers, a local chauffeur service aimed at getting boozers home safely. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Wafiqah Osman-Fisher is the founder of a Sober Soldiers, a local chauffeur service aimed at getting boozers home safely. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 19, 2021

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Business is booming for Wafiqah Osman-Fisher, owner of Sober Soldiers, despite the increase in Covid-19 cases. Her business offers to fetch inebriated clients after a night out and deliver them to their doors safely.

Osman-Fisher said in the last few months, her business has seen a sharp increase.

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“It’s been picking up without me having to push what we do. I think people have realised that they can go out and have fun again,” she said.

“It’s been picking up nicely after a very rough period,” she added.

Sober Soldiers charge a fee of R150 for a radius of 20km out of the CBD. If the distance is more than 20 km, the fee is R200. Added to that, a total of R15 per km is charged from the pick up point to the destination.

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Osman-Fisher said she was forced to increase her prices because of the constant petrol increases. “I tried to keep the prices as low as possible per kilometre, but I had no choice but to increase our prices.”

Insurance companies like Budget, MiWay and Outsurance offer the same service, which is often included in customers monthly insurance fee. Miway policyholders can book up to six trips per year at no additional costs.

Outsurance offers a chauffeur service run by GoodFellas, at a subscription fee of R20 per month. The trip is billed per kilometre and ranges between R9.23 to R14.26 per kilometre. Budget Insurance's service bills clients only when the distance is more than 50km.

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Recently, Osman-Fisher realised it was a business worth doing aside from it being lucrative it helped minimise fatalities caused by drunk drivers.

“I had a client who was extremely drunk and when I dropped him at home, his wife came out crying,” she said.

“She told me that he tends to get very drunk on the occasion that he drinks. She told me that if it wasn’t for our service, he would have driven himself and possibly not have made it home,” she added.

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The business, which initially started with her and one or two family members, has now expanded to a team of 12 people because of the increased demand, especially over the festive season.

The 12 people are divided into six teams. Osman-Fisher said her permanent staff consists of six people.

“When I need more drivers, I make use of the other six. Everyone works in teams, so we currently have six teams available.”

The young entrepreneur who hails from District Six said she’s always had a hustler’s spirit.

“Entrepreneurship is in my blood. Hustling is what I do. It’s what I needed to do to survive all the time,” she said.

She added: “My father, Moegsien Osman, had his own business and my mom, Mymona Osman, had side hustles aside from her day job.”

Sober Soldiers, which started in 2019, was an idea borne out of Osman-Fisher’s former job where she was responsible for the same task.

“I always received great ratings and people always liked having me as a driver,” she said

She added: “I’ve been driving since the age of 16 but wasn’t allowed to drive until I knew how to change a tyre, change my oil and water and brake fluid.”

Osman-Fisher said she’s never been a drinker but was always responsible for driving her friends home and ensuring they got home safely.

“I was always that friend. If I can help someone else make sure they get home safely to their family, I’m happy to do so.”

Osman-Fisher just completed her first year as a cyber security student at CompTIA. Her decision to go into this field was fuelled by wanting to diversify her portfolio for her business in future.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me. I wanted to make this happen for myself.”

She added: “We’ve moved into the digital revolution and there are many ways that this can be of use.”

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