PULE MABE SAVES THE ENVIRONMENT
Former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) treasurergeneral and MP Pule Mabe has established a unique business that is set to change the landscape of the environmental sector.
Mabe, who resigned two months ago to make way for presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has refocused his energy on growing his company, Rivalox.
The company has already registered a patent, has a number of innovative waste management solution services and employs over 200 people.
Mabe is the chairman of Rivalox, which has a number of subsidiaries. They include EnviroMobi, a patented service delivery management platform innovation; Mvest, an industrial laundromat chain; and the Kariki, a motorised three-wheeler minitruck used for various services including waste management and laundry collection, and whose design is legally protected.
The Kariki has some resemblance to an automobile rickshaw, has a unique design and is powered by a motorbike-sized engine. It has also been registered on the electronic national administration traffic information system (eNaTIS) to be able to operate on public roads in the entire Southern African Development Community region. This benefit that has already opened opportunities in Botswana, where there are already plans to partner with government and local businesses to create 2 500 jobs.
The Karikis are currently being used as waste collecters using a network of drivers who are all on a mobile application platform and use the EZmessenger android application – a real-time messenger that connects service providers with their customers.
“It provides peer-to-peer communication and directory services used mostly by public and private entities for easier management,” he said.
Speaking to City Press from the Kariki plant in Krugersdorp, where thousands of the patented design vehicles are assembled, Mabe said the company has been around for almost seven years but he has been in business for way longer.
His background in business is well documented, including being entangled in a number of scandals, but Mabe said that has not deterred him.
“I have been accused of everything. I have testified in courts after false accusations. I have had findings against me by the Public Protector. There’s nothing I haven’t been accused of. I have been doing business for a long time and it’s my responsibility to serve my country even in this capacity,” said Mabe, who is a former journalist and now holds a master’s degree in environmental development.
The Limpopo-born Mabe has extensive experience in media, having been executive producer for an education TV show, and has plans to consolidate that passion with environmental initiatives.
He admits that some people are still sceptical of the business due to his association with it. As a result, the model is not dependent on tenders but rather a franchising model that enables it to generate a maximum number of quality jobs.
“There are instances, where as soon as people hear I am involved, attitudes change. I have done business for government and will continue if they need because, after all, I am a citizen with rights like every other citizen,” he said. Mabe added that a lot of work had gone into the innovative solutions under the Rivalox umbrella.
Rivalox also houses Mvest, which is a pickup and delivery laundry service that has its own android app and also uses Kariki vehicles.
Mvest also makes various detergents that have already found their way into thousands of households through a number of partnerships, including one with a popular funeral parlour.
During a tour of the plant, Mabe seemed to have an in-depth understanding of the entire value chain of the facility, including the technical aspects.
“I understand these innovations very well and also because I am doing my research on EnviroMobi as a portable environmental waste management platform as part of my Master of Business Leadership course with Unisa,” he said.
“After the Innovation Hub we attended in Botswana recently, we are looking into setting up a portable plant for sanitary towels, a plant for detergents as well as for the Kariki, and these initiatives would be able to immediately employ
2 500 people. We currently provide all these services in South Africa, so we are just expanding,” he said.
Though he remains politically active and dabbles between the “two lives”, he does not rule out the possibility of his returning to politics should he have the opportunity to do so.
“These business systems are so reliable that they will be able to run smoothly without me. We have different divisions and units that do their job well, including HR and a call centre as well as the various platforms for monitoring. Checks and balances are in place,” he said.
He also believes being a politician does not preclude him from being involved in business. In fact, he sees it as a duty to contribute within the principle of “the broad church” of the ANC.
“There’s an added burden for us (politicians) not only to do things right, but to do them well.”
It seems Pule has taken the ANCYL’s former motto, “economic freedom in our lifetime”, to heart.
RIDE ALONG Pule Mabe drives a Kariki built by his company’s subsidiary