Tuesday, June 25, 2024
New online venture allows anyone to become a courier

A new South African online platform allows anyone with a motorbike, car or truck to offer their own ad hoc courier service, from short trips across a city, to long haul deliveries.


The web-based system is named Thutha, which means ‘move’ in isiZulu.


Launched on April 1, Thutha allows delivery partners to sign up and bid on transport jobs posted by members of the public.


Once the bids are in, the customer can choose their delivery partner, and get their delivery done, whether it’s delivering a letter from one company to another, or moving house across the country.


Thutha was founded by Durban-based businessman Elton Apelgren.


No stranger to hard work and side hustles during 14 years in the UK, Elton moved back to South Africa and found himself in the transport industry, having invested in a small fleet.


“It wasn’t quite going the way I anticipated, so before I exhausted all my funds I thought: ’I’m going to sit and have a think about this’,” he says.


“I believe in fasting and praying for answers. Two days before I ended my fast, I woke up with the idea of Thutha.”


Elton shared the idea with family and friends, and realising its potential, joined up with a developer who could bring his dream to reality.


The business model is fairly simple.


A customer uploads details of the goods they need transported, as well as the destination and expected timeframe for the delivery.


Delivery partners bid to deliver the goods, with the customer choosing the delivery partner with the best quote or rating.


The customer makes a payment to Thutha, which then issues instructions to the delivery partner.


The delivery partner receives their funds once delivery is completed and verified by Thutha.


“The beauty of Thutha is that it is open to anyone with a vehicle, motorbike or a truck, allowing people to earn an additional income, or perhaps their only income,” notes Apelgren.


“It doesn’t have to be a full-time thing; if someone is driving somewhere with space in their vehicle, they can check for deliveries in the direction they’re travelling and bid for it.”


All delivery partners are vetted by Thutha, including proof of ID, driver’s licence and proof of banking details, so a customer’s parcel is in safe hands, adds Apelgren.