Shova Kalula Bicycle Project

Shova Kalula Project

The Department manages the project with the objective of maximizing the use of non-motorized transport to enable communities to access social and economic opportunities. It also seeks to promote cycling as a low cost mobility solution to low income households, targeting mainly scholars, rural women and farm-workers. Click here for Shova Kalula Presentation to NMT Conference 31 October 2014

The bicycle project's mission is to, amongst others:

  • Ensure that communities experience improving levels of mobility and accessibility by integrating rural, peri-urban and urban people into an effective transport system;
  • To facilitate an enabling environment that will mainstream bicycle transport into public transport system through the provision of an appropriate institutional support mechanism; and
  • To develop and nurture micro-business enterprises to manage Shova Kalula shops independently in the long run.

The Shova Kalula project was conceived because of inadequate access and mobility in rural and peri-urban areas as a result of improper public transport system.

Principles guiding the project:

  • Affordability;
  • Sustainability;
  • Coordination and partnership (multi-sectoral approach);
  • Integration;
  • Equity; and
  • Safety and security.

This is a government sponsored initiative which provides bicycles at a lower cost to rural and peri-urban beneficiaries by entering into a contract with a service provider who supplies bicycles to government outlets/ shops. Micro-businesses are established by provincial, municipalities and communities to manage the bicycle shops.

Various business models

Provinces are at liberty to use the business model which best addresses their needs. Examples of such business models include:

  • An NGO set-up where the organization is independent from government management processes and has a board of directors to run and monitor its affairs;
  • An independent micro-business entreprises which has minimal links with government and receive start-up funds from provinces; and
  • A Shova Kalula set-up which is a quasi-government organization and receives technical support from government

The preferred arrangement will mainly be influenced by the provincial circumstances and policies. The chosen approach would, however, have impact on the following issues:

  • The project costs may be shared with government and beneficiaries government support may be on start-up funds for new sites and the cost of bikes shall be shared with the beneficiaries]. The current Shova Kalula shops may get funding for new stock. In this way shops will start without any debt.
  • The money for subsidizing bikes may be used to build / extend Shova Kalula sites. Shop managers shall have direct management of the implementation phase with the support of provincial programme managers.

Alternative arrangement of increasing the ownership of bicycles

Provinces are encouraged to lobby the private sector to secure more funds and increase the level of bicycle ridership by rolling-out more bicycles and establishing more sites.

Provinces shall explore and introduce various options of ensuring purchases of new bikes through employers’ schemes, payment on terms, lease and renting of bikes including buying bicycles as part of the RDP housing package. This could be seen as an alternative of increasing bicycle ownership.

This mechanism involves the provision of all project-related resources by provinces. For example, supply of bicycles, appointment of shop managers and payment of start-up costs. The business agreements should be entered into with provinces.

Most importantly is the incorporation of these shops into the municipal and provincial plans and growth and development strategies.

National Department of Transport's (NDoT) support to provinces

  • NDoT is willing to subsidise the bicycle transport programme by covering the tender process, technical support to existing and new sites, supplying initial stock and developing skills of shop managers. However, provinces should start budgeting for bicycle projects to complement NDoT’s assistance;
  • NDoT’s policy is to support plans and initiatives made by provinces and the Department will consider having the import levies discounted in order to facilitate trade;
  • NDoT’s support in consultation with the National Road Agency shall include building of appropriate non-motorised infrastructure such as bicycle tracks, parking facilities, pedestrians walks and any road safety programme including road markings/ signage etc. It is anticipated that Provinces shall collaborate with the Provincial Road Agencies to increase such support.
  • NDoT shall liaise with town planners and the Department of Public Works on better planning and usage of public space, such as using the road reserve for sidewalks, cut kerbs for cycleways, bicycle parking facilities in selected areas, etc.
  • The national, provincial and municipalities shall ensure that the IDP review process includes bicycle plans in the integrated transport plans.
  • The role-players have to put a good management system in place to reduce unnecessary and costly oversight role.

Institutional Arrangement

The following arrangement is supported as it provides a win-win situation for all the role-players.


  • To undertake overall implementation and strategic control of the projects;
  • To set their own pricing structure and shall ensure that bicycle remain affordable;
  • To provide a monitoring role to ensure performance by shops managers together with municipalities;
  • Provinces shall work closely with other departments and organizations to ensure sustainability of the bicycle operations and continuity by crafting a conducive coordinating mechanism for all the stakeholders;
  • To ensure that there is a project manager who will provide technical support to shop managers and municipalities as well as undertaking a coordinating role with NDoT and NRA; and
  • Exercising the flexibility as to whether second-hand bikes and spares should be supplied to the sites or not.

Provinces shall come up with vigorous communication and marketing strategies to restore the level of demand as this has recently dropped. Provinces and municipalities shall develop public awareness programmes and link up with school campaigns. A plan that supports and promotes cycling skills at schools should be considered. Engraved plates shall be used on Shova Kalula bikes for promotional and security purposes.


  • To develop bicycle (master) plans in terms of IDPs which are reflective of ITPs, ISRDPs and Rural transport’s objectives and to submit project plans to provinces for approval to secure funding.
  • Municipalities’ marketing strategy shall incorporate the promotion of Shova Kalula bicycle programme.
  • To work closely with participating departments (education, agriculture, sports and recreation, environment affairs, housing, etc) to expand the role of bicycle transport in other fields; and
  • Participate in site identification.

Communities (local task team)

  • To identify a site and co-manage of the project through community structure;
  • Provide guidance and leadership to shop managers by participating in a community structure which may comprise of: District councilor, school representatives (scholar, teacher, parent), community representatives including a traditional representative, public transport operator, business representative, local representatives from the rural transport forum; and
  • A trust account shall be opened (with the principle of paying for the suppliers of bicycles + spares first and later pay for the overhead costs.

All structures should be involved in road safety education programmes. A good coordinating plan has to be developed and agreed upon by the key role-players.

It is also proposed that this new approach be tested as it deviates slightly from the demonstration of phase 1 projects. It is believed that the evaluation of the implementation phase shall best guide the long-term strategy on bicycle programme. The evaluation shall be done in November 2004. This will happen after 18 months of implementation.

NDoT shall proceed with the funding of the programme beyond the demonstration phase. However, a strong case for motivating for more funds from the National Treasury will be best qualified by the success of the demonstration phases.

Parameters of using Shova Kalula funds

To allow a degree of flexibility and avoiding measures that are too stringent. Shova Kalula funds will be utilized according to the following conditions.

  • The funds will cover the procurement process and the payment of services rendered. This relates specifically to the supply of bicycles and spares;
  • Technical support with specific reference to project management, promotional activities, material plus launching of new shops, educational programmes;
  • Reimbursement of shop managers’ payments should come from the proceeds of the sales and NOT from the Shova Kalula budget;
  • Fund infrastructure-related projects on road safety including road markings and signage;
  • Purchasing of second-hand bicycle spares to service second-hand bicycles sold in phase 1;and
  • NMT related transport activities such as supporting corridor initiatives and related NMT urban transport related activities.

This fund should be seen as a revolving account, which pays and services its debts. A proper accounting system has to be put in place by provinces to ensure effective financial management and control of the budget.

Pillars of the programme

  • Acceptance of NMT as a mobility solution by the society, politicians, government officials, cycling community and business sector;
  • The market has been established and needs to be reinforced;
  • Continued support to lower the cost of NMT transport through the pricing and regulating framework;
  • Extending the target and beneficiary groups by popularizing the use and benefits of non-motorized transport;
  • Set up a good institutional arrangement and funding mechanism;
  • The eagerness by provinces to expand the programme;
  • Advancement by certain provinces which have bicycle plans in place; and
  • Establishing a local manufacturing plant or forge stronger international links to avoid exorbitant transport costs.


An amount of approximately R10 million has been set aside for the implementation of phase 2 and 3 of the demonstration projects.

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