SA Taxi, the only independent financer of the minibus taxi industry and one of South Africa’s very few developmental credit providers, has established an award that acknowledges positive contributions to the taxi industry made by pioneering operators.
Recipients are selected by the National Taxi Alliance (NTA).
The SA Taxi Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be awarded every four years, was presented this year by NTA president, Mohanoa Francis Masitsa, and SA Taxi director of corporate affairs, Bonisile Makubalo, to taxi operator Jabulani Nkosi at a gala dinner.
Mr Nkosi started his taxi business 50 years ago, driving passengers in a 1955 Chevrolet from Faraday Station in Gauteng to Natalspruit and Johannesburg suburbs like Kensington.
“In his half century in the industry, Mr Nkosi has helped to lay the foundations of a sector that now carries 68.8% of all land based commuter traffic and is critical to the functioning of the South African economy,” says Makubalo.
“He exemplifies the courage, determination, and business acumen that are needed, even now, to run a business in a sector that gets very little support from commercial or government entities. When he started, of course, the industry was also contending with apartheid.
“He understood the value of collective action and of self-regulation of the industry, joining the Bara City Taxi Association in 1968 and becoming a founder member of SABTA, JRTC, Top Six, NTA, and UTAF. He was one of the negotiators in the Mamelodi conflict who brought about a peaceful settlement.
“For us, Mr Nkosi is living proof not only that the minibus taxi industry can take pride in its many achievements but also that making a positive contribution is, in fact, an end in itself. Mr Nkosi’s life and the way he chose to live it have made South Africa a better place. We established our award to celebrate taxi industry role models like him.
“We believe it’s important that taxi operators who are starting out today remember the people who built the industry they are joining. And it’s vital that all of us in this industry are reminded that a positive approach to life and business is its own reward.”
In addition to a gala dinner at which the recipient is honoured, the SA Taxi Lifetime Achievement Award includes a free SA Taxi insurance pack for the recipient’s entire minibus taxi fleet. This provides the operator with considerable savings as well as ensuring business continuity in cases where accidents or damage take vehicles out of service for lengthy periods.
“We focus on helping operators achieve sustainability,” Makubalo says. “And a lifetime of achievement is about as sustainable as you can get.”