Peter Luhanga - December 13, 2022

New last-mile delivery venture gets 100 youths on their feet

Jobs provided for young people from Atlantis, Dunoon, and Joe Slovo 

After getting poor marks during his first year journalism studies at Rhodes University, 22-year-old Yandisa Mbhadeko’s attempt to reapply for financial aid from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2020 was rejected.

With no job opportunities in his home town of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Mbhadeko came to Cape Town to look for work, with the hope of saving enough money to fund his journalism ambitions.

After arriving in Cape Town in May this year, where he stayed in a one-room shack with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend, he saw a man riding an electric bicycle to deliver groceries, and asked how he could find work like him.

The man directed him to Green Riders at the River Gate industrial area north of Parklands, where he got signed up as an e-bike rider to deliver groceries in the greater Table View and Parklands area.

The service, founded by Craig Atkinson, is linked to globally known e-hailing platforms for food and grocery deliveries, and he found himself part of 100 young people from Dunoon and Atlantis who work as contractors at Green Riders — an eco-friendly last-mile delivery service.

The contractors are allocated a R40,000 electric bicycle which they rent at a weekly fee, eventually owning it after a year. “I am self-employed. Everything I make (earnings from the service) is mine except for the money to rent a bike,” says Mbhadeko.

A group of contractors on a training tour near Bayside Table View: Photo: Peter Luhanga 

He said the e-bike rental is R700 a week, but if he makes more than 60 deliveries in the day, that week’s rental drops to R500. He says he takes home R1,500 a week on average after paying the e-bike rental. 

With his earnings he is now able to afford his own shack, which he has managed to furnish. He says he is also able to support his twin children, aged three, who live with their mother in the Eastern Cape, and provides financial support to his 16-year-old sister. 

Working for himself has also taught him to be disciplined with his money. “No one calls me to be at work. It’s challenging but it’s constructive. I have to plan my day… set up my target.

“I was financially illiterate, I’d spend without budgeting, but working as a contractor has taught me financial discipline.”

He says Green Riders provided a smartphone, phone holder, earphones, raincoat, helmet, safety vests, gloves and boots.

Siphe Mlawuli, 29, a mother of a two-year-old child, said she was recruited on 8 November and is undergoing training at Green Riders.

“They (Green Riders) came to Dunoon to look for people and I showed interest. I want to prove to other women that jobs in construction, riding motorbikes, scooters are not only for men. I can also do it.”

She says as an independent contractor she will be able to fend for herself and plans to build her mother a brick house in the Eastern Cape.

Ward 104 councillor Messie Makuwa says she is grateful that Green Riders are creating work opportunities for young people in the ward. 

Atkinson said he wanted to create job opportunities for South Africans in the fast-growing home delivery sector. 

He said Green Riders trains and uplifts young people with no work experience to become professional delivery partners.

“We train all riders on various platforms, giving them every opportunity to capitalize on the full delivery market. We have 100 youths, some are technicians, others are dashboard controllers, administrators. We have employed predominantly from Dunoon, Joe Slovo Park in Milnerton and a few from Atlantis,” he said.

Senior Analyst Sustainable Mobility and Storage at GreenCape — a non-profit organisation established to support the development of the green economy in the Western Cape, Prian Reddy, says his team celebrated the launch of Green Riders brand new first-to-market Mach 2 e-Bikes awarded to top performing delivery riders on Wednesday 7 December.

“Through this project, Green Riders creates job opportunities for the youth of local communities by training unemployed persons to become professional delivery riders, while advancing the uptake of e-bikes and e-motorbikes in the last-mile delivery market. This will contribute to alleviating poverty and unemployment in communities whilst reducing carbon emissions and pollution,” said Reddy.

Mbhadeko says he still plans to go back to university to pursue journalism, “I’ve been saving for registration,” he says.

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