SA Taxi, one of South Africa’s few certified developmental credit providers and the country’s only independent financer of the minibus taxi industry, is contributing funding for a business ethics and governance initiative developed by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in collaboration with Gideon Pogrund, an internationally recognised ethics specialist.
GIBS is a division of the University of Pretoria and has been ranked among the world’s top business schools by the United Kingdom’s Financial Times Executive Education survey for the past 12 years. Its initial three-year Business Ethics and Governance Think-Tank programme is expected to become a fully-fledged, independent centre within the business school.
Launched at the GIBS Centre for Business Analysis and Research in Johannesburg on 10 May 2016, the initiative’s purpose is to facilitate a national conversation about business ethics leading to practical measures and outcomes. It is designed to make a seminal contribution to the understanding, awareness, and practice of business ethics in South Africa and, ultimately, to the amelioration of social needs in South Africa via business.
The process of achieving these goals will be phased, starting with the formation of a ‘council of advisors’ consisting of 15 people from a range of disciplines. Race, gender, and religious and conceptual diversity will be given priority. Three groups of five councilors each will participate in public events at which ethics will be discussed.
To ensure an effective follow-up to these conversations, a working group of reputable ethics specialists and practitioners, paid for their time, will be established. The GIBS Ethics and Governance Think-Tank’s points of reference will be the recommendations made by the council of advisors and those that appear in the first chapter of the Third King Report, which deals with ethical leadership and ethics management in organisations. The working group will be tasked with designing practical, implementable measures to turn the recommendations into reality.
The group will then produce a report that will include a working plan, outlining how ethics and values can penetrate and influence mainstream organisational behavior in South Africa, and how business can more creatively and effectively contribute to societal wellbeing.
Kalnisha Singh, director of SA Taxi’s corporate social investment arm, the SA Taxi Foundation, says that the company’s support for the GIBS programme is an organic extension of its own core value of integrity in business as expressed through its developmental finance focus.
“Every business decision we take within the SA Taxi group is defined by its practical ability to build a society that equitably serves the needs of all its members.
“Our minibus taxi division is predicated on helping taxi operators make their small businesses sustainable and, in turn, be able to create employment, both within the industry itself and the ancillary small businesses that depend for survival on taxi ranks.
“Our bakkie division has the same objective, in terms of providing finance to those who would not normally qualify for conventional vehicle finance but can use a bakkie to start or maintain a small business.
“Our newest division, Zebra Cabs, is reinventing the metered taxi industry by enabling cab drivers to buy their own vehicles and, thereby, start a business.
“In all cases, we empower our customers with business insight and training, which includes ethics and governance. We believe that our model – building our business by building other businesses – could very easily be replicated. The fact that we do this in an industry that is re-establishing, in difficult regulatory and economic conditions, its own reputation for positive social impact is proof positive that ethical business behaviour is good business.
“We’re delighted therefore to support the GIBS programme in focusing South Africans from all walks of life on what’s possible if you do the right thing for the right reasons.”