Residents in the Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage/Despatch area have relied heavily on public passenger transport since the late 1800’s, firstly with trams and then with buses. Over the years the Port Elizabeth Tramway Company became the Bay Passenger Transport Company, which was later controlled by Cape Town-based Tollgate Holdings. As a result of financial and trading challenges, Tollgate elected to withdraw in 1990.
Commerce and industry, and the citizens of Port Elizabeth, recognized the need for a continued bus service. Supported by financial institutions and Local Authorities, a corporate structure, Ezethu Bus Company NPC, was formed, and the operating Company, Algoa Bus Company, started trading in January 1991. After being rescued from the brink of bankruptcy, and then trading through some difficult years, the operating Company was sold, and Ezethu Development Trust (established in 2011) can trace its roots to that sale transaction.
The Ezethu Development Trust is a Public Benefit Organization in the Nelson Mandela Metropole, which comprises Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch, and was set up to facilitate the development of the Metropole for the benefit of its residents. The word Ezethu can be translated from isiXhosa to mean “ours” or “our own”, which was appropriate to the bus company’s philosophy, and now underpins what the Trust sets out to achieve.
The objective of Ezethu Development Trust is to provide development funding to qualifying beneficiary organizations (established non-profit companies or trusts) for the realization of their projects which would benefit the Metropole and, more particularly, its residents.
Ezethu Development Trust’s “Deed of Trust” dictates that its principal object is to facilitate public benefit activities:
- in a non-profit manner
- with an altruistic (unselfish, humane) or philanthropic (charitable, humanitarian, benevolent) intent
- for the benefit of the Metropole’s residents
Appointed Trustees play an oversight role, and beneficiaries are selected by the Trustees, in their discretion, following a rigorous application and interview process. The Trust does not itself carry out any development projects.
In the period 2015-2019 the Trust has distributed R35 million to organizations in the Metro, making a meaningful impact in the process.