COMMUNICATION and transparency is key to managing a business formed by a big Black Economic Empowerment consortium.
Sowetan spoke to Simlindile Hintsa, executive chairperson of Africa's Best 350, a successful bus company in Eastern Cape.
AB 350, as it is affectionately known in Eastern Cape, was formed in 2005 by 209 bus operators in the region.
Each member contributed R2500 a share to raise capital and received help from funding agencies to buy new buses for the company.
Today AB 350 has 76 buses that operate in the rural areas of Bizana, Mtata, Mount Frere, Queenstown, Matatiele, Lady Grey and soon Butterworth.
The BEE transaction was facilitated through collection of R90million from agencies such as the Industrial Development Corporation, Development Bank of Southern Africa, New Empowerment Fund Eastern Cape Development Corporation and Scani Finance.
Hintsa also received a subsidy of R33million from the department of roads and transport in Eastern Cape.
"Our biggest challenge was negotiating with taxi operators, councillors and traditional leaders and we had to move fast on these negotiations," Hintsa says.
"Taxi operators did not believe we could do it. Even today we are still negotiating with them."
Hintsa says the company has since been doing well and is able to pay the loans from the funding it received.
"Commuters have grown into believing in our service and they are calling for more buses on the road."
Although today AB 350 has 203 individual shareholders, Hintsa says they are able to make quick decisions.
"We hold our shareholder meetings in a hall and it is effective.
"Our secret over the years has been effective communication and transparency to our member which results in every decision process quick and efficient," Hintsa says.
"At the moment we are trying to establish an internal newsletter which will be distributed across our members to keep them informed on the progress of our business."
Although AB 350 is doing well, it still faced with a challenge of poor road infrastructure in the province.