Empowering South Africa’s minibus taxi industry

The local minibus taxi industry drives the South African economy

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Of the 40% of South Africans who use public transport, 67% commute in one of the country’s 250 000 minibus taxis. Without a functioning and operationally efficient industry, the workers who drive the economy would be stranded and economic activity would grind to a halt.

Yet, despite its importance to the country and the fact that it is the only wholly black-owned sector in the economy, the largely informal minibus taxi industry is generally underserved by both the government and the public sector, compared to other formalised transport sectors.

A change agent

At SA Taxi, we understand the crucial role that the minibus taxi industry plays in our economy. A more efficient minibus taxi industry has the potential to transform the lives of all those it serves, and the broader economy as well.

We’re an independently-owned commercial business that forms part of the Transaction Capital group of companies, which listed on the JSE in June 2012. Founded in 1996, we now employ more than 1 000 people, who drive our business and the country’s taxi industry forward from our head offices in Midrand, Gauteng.

We focus exclusively on building entrepreneurs through the taxi industry, having financed 28 724 of the estimated 250 000 taxis on South Africa’s roads. We are, therefore, committed to ensuring the sustainability and prosperity of the sector, while working to benefit all stakeholders.

We aim to foster greater efficiencies and professionalism within the industry and strive to support the entrepreneurs who run taxi operations in numerous ways.

To realise this vision, we have created a platform for shared value creation opportunities that provides services to the wider industry and connects all stakeholders to facilitate a greater collaboration and investment.

Our service offering

Primarily, SA Taxi uses a bespoke, vertically integrated and scalable taxi platform that leverages specialist capabilities and applies specialised credit, risk, analytics and capital management competencies to boost financial inclusion in the sector.

SA Taxi offers a range of financial services, including:

Developmental credit and financing to entrepreneur and SME taxi owners who may otherwise not have access to credit from traditional financiers.

Short-term insurance products, including comprehensive cover and credit life, specific to the minibus operators’ businesses.

A pioneering multi-faceted rewards programme called Black Elite—a collaboration between TaxiChoice, the commercial arm of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and SA Taxi—that helps the local taxi industry, which consumes an estimated 2.5-billion litres of fuel annually, realise significant financial benefits. This initiative has achieved impressive growth to date:

  • Cards distributed: 5 158
  • Total litres rewarded: 1 037 498
  • Driver airtime rewards paid out: R33 890
  • Operator cash sends redeemed: R40 100
  • Association accumulation: R36 486

Building on these core financial competencies, SA Taxi also offers support services that span an entire asset value chain. These include:

A unique blend of vehicle procurement, retail and refurbishment capabilities through our Taximart division.

Affordable, quality-assured used and new vehicle parts via our Taxi Auto Parts (TAP) division.

SA Taxi Media is an out-of-home transit media company that uses technology to scientifically segment target audiences and can measure precisely the return on investment (ROI) advertisers receive on adverts placed inside and outside of minibus taxis. In the process, SA Taxi enables taxi owners to benefit from extra revenue generated from the media campaigns.

SA Taxi Connect Wi-Fi offers 25MB a day of free Wi-Fi to commuters in minibus taxis and local ranks that they can use to browse as they wish.

Significant benefits

By providing these complementary business services, we assist in maximising cash flow for entrepreneur and SME taxi owners and protect their income-generating asset, helping them to flourish.

They are then empowered to build thriving and sustainable businesses, which creates a groundswell of additional social and economic benefits throughout the country.

These beneficial knock-on effects are far-reaching, with the potential to create significantly more jobs through direct and indirect employment opportunities, as each taxi in operation creates 1.8 direct jobs, on average.

Amplifying inclusion

We’re also committed to creating additional opportunities within the sector and delivering significant downstream benefits throughout the industry value chain via various innovative targeted and impactful initiatives.

To do our part in building a more inclusive society, our initiatives aim to empower marginalised and underserved sectors within our communities, and transform the industry at large. Our flagship projects include:

Female empowerment

We support SMEs run by female entrepreneurs, with R3.5-billion invested in empowering female entrepreneurs in the minibus taxi industry since 2008. During this period, SA Taxi has increased its female client base by an average of 4.5% per annum, helping to create 8 473 female-owned SMEs and financing 12 092 vehicles—an average of 1.4 vehicles per owner.

We currently have R1.9-billion invested with 4 382 female taxi owners, who collectively operate 5 656 SA Taxi-financed vehicles. While the impact that SA Taxi-backed female entrepreneurs are having on both the industry and the economy is prolific, our continued efforts and initiatives hope to significantly increase the presence of women in this industry and in so doing, continue to uplift the communities they support.

Skills development

Project Refentse is a training and skills development programme for mechanics that is designed to improve the minibus taxi industry’s sustainability. The project, funded by the SA Taxi Foundation and managed by Taximart, prepares participants, who are identified and nominated by SANTACO and the National Taxi Alliance (NTA), over a 12-week period for a recognised motor mechanics trade test.

Safety

We invested over R20 million to provide patrol vehicles to regional, provincial, and national taxi associations, and the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency to strengthen the industry’s right and ability to self-regulate through improved safety on the roads and to reduce conflict among taxi operators and improve relations between the industry and law enforcement agencies.

Planned in collaboration with SANTACO and the NTA, the patrol vehicles ensure that the road usage by member operators is more effectively monitored and that resulting feedback can be used to support constructive change by operators.

Branded by SA Taxi for each association, the patrol vehicles also play a visible role in implementing collaborative road safety campaigns that include industry bodies, SA Taxi and government agencies such as the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).

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