SA Taxi provides free education on credit management to minibus taxi industry

SA Taxi provides free education on credit management to minibus taxi industry

In line with its strategic objective of helping to make the small businesses run by minibus taxi operators sustainable through the provision of various supportive products and services, SA Taxi is rolling out a five-year campaign focused on educating operators about credit management.


SA Taxi is one of South Africa’s very few certified developmental credit providers and its the only independent financer of minibus taxis. For the credit education campaign, it is working in close collaboration with the National Credit Regulator and the Credit Ombudsman as well as the various taxi associations in order to provide operators with information that is aligned with government’s objective of creating a society able to manage credit responsibly.


“South Africa is grappling with the conundrum of being over-indebted as a society while acknowledging that businesses need credit in order to function effectively,” says SA Taxi director of corporate affairs, Bonisile Makubalo. “We need to replace the bad credit that cripples households with the kind of good credit that funds businesses.


“In the case of the minibus taxi industry, we have the unique situation in which individual and business credit come down to the same thing. Thousands of operators are running small businesses – but the businesses are founded on the owners’ personal ability to access credit in order to buy vehicles.


“As a developmental and responsible credit provider, we have always supported our own customers with the necessary advice and guidance on managing the credit we provide for them. The rest of the industry, however, doesn’t have quite the same levels of support.


“The difficulty, as we know from long experience, is not the repayment of installments on vehicles. Most operators have the propensity to pay. Also, most operators are extremely savvy about cash flow management. What they do find challenging is managing their credit when cash is tight, when one or more vehicles is incapacitated and, therefore, not generating revenue, when they are running multiple accounts, or when they need credit in order to expand their business in some way.


“These are business rather than simply credit considerations. They’re the points at which the taxi industry crosses from the informal to a formal economy. And they’re the pivots on which the sustainability of small businesses turns.


“So, we have initiated the credit education campaign In order to help stabilise and support the entire industry, rather than simply our own customers – and we are grateful to the Regulator and the Ombudsman for assisting us.”


One credit education workshop has already taken place, with the executives of the Ekurhuleni Regional Taxi Association. The next workshop will take place in Tshwane and will be followed by as many others as are needed to cover all the regional and on route associations across the country.


“Since the first workshop, we’ve been inundated with requests from taxi associations,” Makubalo says. “We are in the process of working out roll-out logistics, so that we can reach as many people as possible in the shortest space of time.”


Each credit workshop is preceded by a free health assessment for workshop participants. The assessments are part of an SA Taxi Foundation initiative that provides free health checks to operators and drivers via a mobile clinic that visits individual ranks. The project’s intention is to help drivers stay fit to be in command of a vehicle.


“Our priority, at SA Taxi, is to do whatever we can to ensure the wellbeing, financial and healthwise, of taxi operators,” Makubalo says.