A brief history
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Interstate Bus Lines was founded on 28th April 1975 by Mr Abel Erasmus and Mr Fred Kinnear. As employees of the Bantu Investment Corporation (BIC), it was the duty of these two gentlemen to investigate the feasibility of bus services in the mid-seventies. Economic conditions were bad and the project was officially shelved. But not for Erasmus and Kinnear, they decided to carry on under their own steam.
For two years it was tough going because the permit system was rigorously applied. Each time they made their application for a Thaba‘Nchu / Bloemfontein permit, the railways and even the BIC opposed them. But with the late Dr James Moroka, a leader in the ANC, as partner, they managed to get afoot in the door in 1975 when the three took over the small bus company of the late Jacob Mokgethi, who operated four buses in the hinterland of Thaba ‘Nchu on routes allocated to him.
In 1976, the two entrepreneurs finally managed, through a private enterprise initiative, to obtain permission to operate the route they want. The company was fi known as Thaba ‘Nchu Transport, but was later renamed Jakaranda after the Pretoria based printers of the bus tickets whose name appeared on the back of the tickets.
Interstate was later chosen because the services expanded and began to operate between provinces. Bus services, offering more comfort than trains, were needed everywhere and as a result the company grew rapidly. In fact, from its inception in 1975, Interstate has grown into a transport giant with as many as 600 buses countrywide at one stage in order to provide people with an alternative to rigidly-scheduled rail transport. It was towards the end of the eighties, when the taxi revolution gained momentum, that the two entrepreneurs decided to split their operations.
Kinnear took on a new challenge by teaming up with the late Joseph Matsebula in Nelspruit to lay the foundations for the Buscor Group to serve the Mpumalanga Province. In other words, what was started with four buses is Interstate and Buscor today.
Ownership and control
The company was established in 1975 as a family owned business, and has over the years been through several transformation phases, the last being in 2006 when Broad Based Black Economically Empowered (BBBEE) groupings bought a stake in the company.
In 2016 the company further concluded a historic deal when Imperial procured a controlling stake in the company, the move which is in line with the company’s strategic intent to pursue growth opportunities nationally and across the borders of South Africa. The transaction further positioned the company to yield economic benefits for its Broad Based Black Economically empowered shareholders and as the company grows, so will be the economic stake of the BBBEE groupings.
Imperial Logistics South Africa with its impeccable operational record with emphasis on safety, reliability and genuine economic empowerment, was seen as a fit for purpose investor that will position the company for the next level. Since its inception the company has always believed in an inclusive approach when it comes to decision making, thus management control and inclusivity of historically excluded groups in its management structure is not a mere compliance, Employment Equity or BEE gesture.
Since 2016 management and Board control was at 50/50 representation and currently the Board of Directors reflects the national demographics.
Board of Directors
(BBT Taxi Trust)
A. van der Zwaard
(IBL Share Trust
J.C. Du Plessis
(BBT Small Bus Operators Trust)
Procurement and Black Economic Empowerment
With Imperial as a majority investor in the company, our BEE roadmap gives a clear indication that we will achieve a competitive recognition level under the new codes. It is anticipated that we will achieve Level 4 status in 2017 and will actively target Level 3 status by 2020. Our strategy in terms of the revised codes encompasses the following key objectives:
1. Maintain our leadership position – the tougher new B-BBEE scorecard raises the transformation bar, particularly for large organisations, but we view this as an incentive to keep doing the things that have earned us our position as industry leader.
2. Maximize our clients’ preferential procurement recognition – with an acute understanding of the new codes, we will continue to partner with our clients in exhausting all potential recognition benefits.
3. Support our clients’ QSE/EME spend – we will actively develop our enterprise development partnerships to the benefit of our clients – identifying, developing and position these EMEs and QSEs to become suppliers to our clients.
4. Enable diversity across the business – working across all businesses and functions we will facilitate and leverage authentic transformation in all this dimensions.
We regard the new codes as the next phase in our transformation journey and we will continue to pursue and enhance all facets of empowerment – regardless of the BEE measurements – because we believe that the process of economic transformation must continue apace in order to bring the majority of black South Africans into the mainstream economy. Not only by providing employment but by giving meaningful economic participation and the opportunity to share increasingly in the wealth creation resulting from economic activities.
We will therefore continue to accelerate transformation in an effort to not just raise the bar in meeting targets and achieving recognition in terms of the revised codes, but to entrench transformation within our organisational culture, enhance our commitment as a corporate citizen, and continue to lead the industry as a truly South African business.
The company acknowledges that the commitment to service excellence is only possible through the
valued contribution of our employees. The company therefore invests in Human Resources by developing their skills, caring for their wellbeing, incentivizing them for targets met, recognizing extraordinary work done and engaging Labour unions in decision making processes. The Human Resource Department apply professional Human Resources practices and it is certificated by the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP). Interstate Bus Lines is the first company in the Free State to be audited and certified against these national HR standards.
Interstate Bus Lines received accreditation for RTMS (Road Transport Management System) on the 7th December 2015. IBL became the first bus company in the Free State to receive this status. RTMS is an industry-led, voluntary self-regulation scheme that encourages transport operators to implement a vehicle management system that preserves road infrastructure, improves road safety and insures well trained drivers, the road infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly due to overloading and poor maintenance. Furthermore, the large number of accidents attributed to heavy vehicles are acceptable. Both road safety and road infrastructure are public concerns subject to strict regulation by government, RTMS has these concerns as focus, and is also supported by the Department of transport.
As a diversified transport enterprise, we shall play a leading role in providing integrated mobility and transport related services for the prosperity of the society we serve.
We are committed to:
- Safety and Quality for our Customers and Employees
- A Sustainable Future for our Employees
- Caring for the Environment and Needs of our Society
- Our driving force is QUALITY
- Our sense of PASSION gears us up to excellence in all spheres
- We strive for INTERGRITY in all our dealings, ensuring that we go the distance
- We value FLEXIBILITY as a pre-requisite for changing direction quickly
- Corporate and individual EMPOWERMENT initiatives are in place, allowing us to branch out to unfamiliar routes