SA Taxi Foundation jump-starts rural woman entrepreneur’s business

Donation of a minibus taxi to a woman-owned operation boosts community sustainability

SA Taxi Foundation is donating a minibus taxi to Ms Makabela Moeletsane of the rural Naledi and Franschoek districts in the eastern Free State. The donation forms part of an initiative by Ms Moeletsane to make education more accessible and affordable for her community.

SA Taxi Foundation is the corporate social investment arm of SA Taxi, the pioneering business platform focused on transforming the minibus taxi industry.

By operating a taxi service in the Naledi and Franschoek area, Ms Moeletsane will allow school children currently having to board in more distant towns to attend schools within their own community. This will preserve family cohesion and wellbeing as well as ensuring that families’ disposable income saved by this process is spent locally. In turn, this will accelerate achievement of the objectives of Eagle Valley Farm, on which the villages of Naledi and Franschoek are situated.

Eagle Valley Farm was bought in 2013 by Earthrise Trust, a not-for-profit social activist initiative whose work is founded on the United Nation’s Earth Charter. Earthrise Trust is dedicated to building a new development paradigm based on respect and care for community of life, ecological integrity, social and economic justice and democracy, and non-violence and peace.

As an Earthrise Trust initiative, Eagle Valley Farm provides security of tenure for village residents and focuses on creating and promoting sustainable food production, health, housing, and education. It functions as a socio-economic hub supporting community initiated and owned enterprises that ‘will uplift the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the community’.

“Eagle Valley Farm’s ethos meshes very well with our own objective of supporting and enhancing the sustainability of the minibus taxi industry,” says Maroba Maduma, SA Taxi Communications Executive and SA Taxi Foundation Director.

“The industry flourishes when the communities it serves are empowered. So, our community investment projects are aimed at enabling communities to build capacity, most often in the form of enterprise development.

“The donation of a vehicle to Ms Moeletsane serves this purpose on many levels. It gives her an opportunity to establish a business. It advances the cause of women entrepreneurs. Ms Moeletsane’s success will stimulate the local economy. It will also support the evolution of education facilities in the area, making the community more self-sufficient in terms of preparing young people for the world of work.

“As usual, therefore, the minibus taxi will be a vehicle not simply for transport but social and economic mobility, enriching lives.

“We are delighted to be the conduit for such organic, woman-led, community-led transformation.”

Ms Moeletsane intends extending the use of her taxi to develop tourism in the region, carrying visitors to sites of historical and environmental significance. And, using a trailer, she will provide a goods delivery and collection service for village residents and businesses.

Ms Moeletsane has experience as a taxi operator. When her daughters were much younger, she was forced to find work outside her home village, going as far as Cape Town in order to provide for the family. Aware that her children needed her presence in their lives, she moved back to Ficksburg, obtained a licence and permit, and used her savings to buy a second-hand minibus taxi. Not in the best of condition, the vehicle eventually became unusable and Ms Moeletsane had to abandon her dream of being an entrepreneur, earning an independent income and being master of her own fate.

SA Taxi Foundation’s donation of a vehicle puts that dream back on the road.