Busi­ness is BOOM­ING

It’s one thing to run a busi­ness. It’s quite an­other to grow it to a 62-strong fleet that caters to com­muters both lo­cally and as far as Zim­babwe, Mozam­bique and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo. That’s ex­actly what Lu­cia Net­shi­tuni, Di­rec­tor of Net­shi­tun

Destiny - - Entrepreneurs - BY Wil­helmina Maboja

The trans­port busi­ness, how­ever, was never some­thing she en­vis­aged en­ter­ing when she was younger. “I ac­tu­ally wanted a food chain fran­chise, or any other form of fran­chis­ing,” she says. “It’s a very dif­fer­ent world from what I’m do­ing to­day!” Net­shi­tuni Coaches was es­tab­lished in 1984 by Net­shi­tuni’s hus­band An­dries in Venda with the aim of pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion to teach­ers, nurses and schol­ars. Trag­i­cally, in 2013, An­dries was killed in a car crash which also left Net­shi­tuni wheel­chair-bound for al­most a year. Nev­er­the­less, she over­came her grief and in­juries and when the busi­ness had 45 buses, she de­cided to take it over fully. She’s since grown it to 62 ve­hi­cles, com­pris­ing 50 ev­ery­day com­muter buses, two dou­ble-decker sleep lin­ers and 10 long-dis­tance travel lux­ury coaches with wi-fi, air-con­di­tion­ing and USB charg­ing sock­ets. “It was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion, as I’d al­ready been run­ning it for 17 years and An­dries had taught me ev­ery­thing I know about the busi­ness. That was his legacy to me,” she says.

The busi­ness’s turnover has grown by 36% since she took over dur­ing the 2013 fi­nan­cial re­port­ing pe­riod, while profit’s grown by 144% for the same pe­riod. For Net­shi­tuni, it’s not just about pro­vid­ing ba­sic trans­porta­tion for the peo­ple of Venda, but about em­pow­er­ing the peo­ple of Lim­popo Prov­ince.

“With most of the youth un­em­ployed and the pop­u­la­tion in poverty, com­mu­ni­ties de­pend on lo­cal busi­nesses to pro­vide jobs and im­prove the econ­omy,” she ex­plains. “Pub­lic trans­porta­tion gives com­mu­ni­ties ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment and ev­ery­thing peo­ple need to be in­de­pen­dent.” Be­sides be­ing a woman in a pre­dom­i­nantly male in­dus­try, she says the big­gest chal­lenge has been ne­go­ti­at­ing the roads. With so many routes to cover on a daily ba­sis, ac­ci­dents and break­downs are in­evitable. It’s a risk Net­shi­tuni mit­i­gates by in­vest­ing in top-standard ve­hi­cles which are care­fully main­tained and reg­u­larly ser­viced.

Be­yond shap­ing Net­shi­tuni Coaches into a fam­ily busi­ness that’s rooted in the Venda com­mu­nity and raising am­bi­tious sons, Net­shi­tuni’s a woman of im­pec­ca­ble style.

“As long as I think some­thing looks good on me, I’ll wear it, no mat­ter where it’s from. I dress to make my­self happy and com­fort­able – not any­body else,” she smiles. It’s the same nonon­sense ap­proach she adopts as an en­trepreneur – which is why her busi­ness is look­ing as im­pres­sive as she does!

“Pub­lic trans­porta­tion gives com­mu­ni­ties ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment and ev­ery­thing peo­ple need to be in­de­pen­dent.”

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