A man of high business acumen whose philosophical attitude and composure that was visible during the historic taxi march to the Union Buildings reawakened the taxi industry from its “self-created oppression” to a self-initiated destiny. Mr Arthur Jabulani Mthembu otherwise known as AJ Mthembu who is affectionate yet stiffly formal in his beliefs is the second president of the democratically elected executive council of SANTACO. He was incepted in March 21, 2006 at the Special National Elections Conference.
Born in November 18, 1966 in Petermaritzburg Kwa Zulu Natal, after his matriculation in 1984 AJ Mthembu worked as a Lab Technician at the SAB during which period he was introduced to the taxi operations. A teacher by profession, he had a short stint with his career life and ventured into franchising in 1994 where managed two outlets of Chicken Licken. Following the drastic rise of sales he was consequently elected franchisee chairman of the outlets.
It was only in 1998 that AJ Mthembu geared up his focus strictly in the taxi business since the purchase of his first vehicle in 1990. At the time, the taxi industry countrywide was undergoing a democratic process of change and in 2000, AJ Mthembu was elected Public Relations Officer of the Kwa Zulu Natal Provincial Taxi Council. With the vision to create a corporate taxi industry in the province, the executive appointed him as a Corporate Services Manager and shortly thereafter escalated him to General Manager of his Provincial Taxi Council. It was in this environment that he crafted the vehicle financing scheme with People’s Bank where the pilot project successfully registered 100 customers. This success spiraled to the Free State province which implemented the same deal for their members and instantly registered 40 members.
His persona is a rare material in the taxi industry. Hence in 2004, SANTACO acquired his services to lead its implementation arm of the national deals signed for the taxi operators in the country. It was this offer that actually ascended him to high echelons of the taxi industry and thus prepared him for the highest seat of an industry he at the time defined himself as, “unfit” to lead. But the SANTACO Special National Conference conferred its confidence on him and inaugurated him president. The Limpopo province renamed him the “Moses of the taxi industry”.
A diplomat of note and a visionary with sharp entrepreneurial know-how is set to bring a defining moment of change for the taxi industry since its democratization in 2001. His key drivers rests on two pillars; unity in the taxi industry and economic freedom that would create a self-reliance sector.
AJ Mthembu is now also Chairman of SANTACO Trading PTY (Ltd) a business arm of SANTACO and also sits in numerous boards of its subsidiary companies as Director. He is married to Nomagugu Mthembu and are both blessed with children.