South Africa’s only specialist financer to the minibus taxi industry launches corporate social investment division.
2 October 2014 – SA Taxi, the minibus taxi industry’s only specialist financer and one of South Africa’s few certified developmental credit providers, has launched a corporate social investment division: the SA Taxi Foundation.
It will be responsible for all socio-economic development contributions, partnerships and initiatives undertaken by the SA Taxi Finance group of companies.
“Economic empowerment and transformation are built into the operating ethos at SA Taxi,” says SA Taxi Foundation director, Kalnisha Singh. “Our product and service offering inherently makes both a direct and indirect developmental contribution to the communities we serve.
“Directly, SA Taxi promotes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs by providing economic access via our financing of taxi operators’ vehicles. We support our customer base further through elements of business incubation which are built into our product offerings. Indirectly, by encouraging our clients to grow their businesses sustainably, we also impact the multitude of ancillary businesses that serve the taxi rank micro-economies and the South African economy as a whole.”
The intention of the Foundation is to give effect to SA Taxi’s broader commitment to active citizenry. This commitment is based on the fact that most of South Africa remains limited in its access to basic human needs and will not realise real economic freedom without intervention.
“Given that more than half of the South African population travels by taxi every day and that we are part of an industry that supports in excess of 200 000 small businesses and some 400 000 jobs, we are in the privileged position of being able to offer relevant interventions,” says Ms Singh.
“So, we have established the SA Taxi Foundation as a separate, non-profit vehicle to undertake specific developmental projects, particularly in areas that relate to education. For us, education is the key to and foundation of sustainable economic development.”
Established in January 2014, SA Taxi Foundation already directly administers in excess of R1million in project value, with the value expected to increase relative to specific additional projects and partnerships.
One of the Foundation’s earliest undertakings was the sponsorship of the distribution to under-resourced schools of ‘DeskBags’, made from recycled vinyl billboards. With an estimated 3.3 South African school children without desks, the DeskBags are not only light enough for pre-primary children to comfortably carry their books to and from school, but also have a flap made of reinforced ABS plastic that enables the bag to be used as a desk.
Another project focuses on addressing the fact that only 1 900 of South Africa’s 24 000 registered public primary schools have functioning libraries. The Foundation is partnering with the South African Primary Education Support Initiative (SAPESI), which sources and imports second-hand, low-mileage, purpose-built mobile library buses capable of carrying up to 6 000 books. The objective is to have at least one mobile library in each of the country’s 96 school districts by the end of 2016.
As the leading cause of death (45%) in children up to the age of 15 is pedestrian injury, the SA Taxi Foundation is partnering with Educate Africa in delivering interactive road safety presentations to schools during Transport Month (October 2014).
During Madiba month (16 June – 18 July), SA Taxi employees were asked to make suggestions for SA Taxi Foundation projects and then voted on the suggestions made. The three initiatives selected for implementation this year include support, in the form of the donation of necessities such as groceries, for child-headed households; providing information about careers in transport to residents of the Makeba Centre for Abused Women and Children; and donating shoes to school children.
“As an organisation and as individuals, we are committed to facilitating and propagating sustainable transformation within our own business, within the communities we serve, and within the economy as a whole,” Ms Singh says.