Celebrating 20 years of Cableway excellence with Ethel James

Celebrating 20 years of Cableway excellence with Ethel James


Congratulation to Ethel James, who celebrates 20 years of Cableway excellence in 2016. Image credit: Table Mountain Cableway

We’ve been excitedly recruiting new seasonal team members at the Cableway but we haven't forgotten about recognising our long-standing team members, like Ethel James.

Celebrating her 20th year of service in 2016, Ethel has been an integral part of our operations and we are so proud to have this Lakeside resident by our side.

A keen colouring and gardening enthusiast, Ethel recently chatted to us about her decades-long journey with our company:

You’re being recognised for long service at the Cableway. What is the one thing that has kept you with the company for so long?

The diverse group of people I have worked with over the years. There’s never a dull moment with the green team and I love what I do. I feel I ought to mention that my daily motivation is also the most gorgeous view I have of Table Mountain from my office window!

What was your first day at the Cableway like?

It was nerve-wrecking but very exciting.

What are the most significant historical events that have happened at the Cableway that you have been a part of?

Being a part of the team that saw the Cableway receive numerous awards and achievements such as ISO 14001 status, the 2011 Imvelo Responsible Tourism award, the 2015 Lilizela Visitor Experience award and of course, who can forget the feeling of pride when Table Mountain was formally inaugurated as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. And on a personal level – meeting and getting a signed autograph from Brian May, the drummer of QUEEN.

What is the funniest thing to have happened to you while working here?

Experiencing the strength of the Southeaster wind at the mountain. In the late 1990s, I drove a little Fiat Uno, which I had parked in the bus parking bays as the Cableway was closed due to gale-force winds. During the course of the morning, one of the security staff informed me that my car had rolled downhill on to the pavement across the road! I guess the handbrake was no match for the Southeaster!


As far back at the 1990s, Ethel has been an integral part of the Cableway's operations. Image supplied.

How has your perception of the Cableway changed over the years?

A lot has changed from my first days at the Cableway. From working in an office in Bree Street and manually selling perforated tickets to tour operators from my desk to the present where the public can now purchase Cableway tickets online from anywhere in the world, it’s been quite the journey.

The office in Bree Street had a total of about ten staff, which included the MD, finance manager, HR department, accounts department, one secretary and then me, the receptionist. Today, our team is nearly 300 people.

I also never envisioned being part of the Cableway transporting more than 25-million people to the summit of the mountain.

Being part of the team and witnessing how the Cableway has grown in stature, which has been gained by growth, development and numerous achievements has been incredible.

Which position did you start in at the Cableway and how has the skills you learnt in that position helped you to get to the position you hold today?

I started as a temp in the position of receptionist, and then after a month, I accepted a permanent position.

 I’ve been promoted to various other positions internally, but I am happiest in my current position in the control room, which for me is the focal point of the Cableway.

What is your favourite thing/activity/outlet to do or visit at the Cableway?

Going up the mountain with friends and family with a picnic baskets and a good bottle of wine and experiencing the wonders and beauty of the mountain as a visitor and tourist.

Any advice for our new recruits who are just starting their Cableway journey about working here and how to make the most of the experience?

Just be true to yourself, open and honest and you will be noticed by the right people.

Keen to join Ethel as one of our Cableway team members? Visit our Recruitment page for application details.

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