Johannesburg - Arguably a first in South Africa, and most probably the continent, a new mobile application has been created making bakkie hiring services easily accessible to people who need to move their property.

Bakkiefy is compatible with iOS and Android, and is the brainchild of a young Zimbabwean, made possible in collaboration with young South
Africans. Much like ride-sharing services such as Uber, Bakkiefy is a web-based tool and mobile phone app that provides a mechanism to match up those seeking help moving bulky items, with drivers who have light commercial vehicles.

“I wanted to move a fridge from a flat I used to live in to my friend’s flat in Randburg," explained inventor Darlington Sibanda, 28. "We walked through the central business district searching for a bakkie to hire, but we couldn’t find any - so we had to postponed moving it for some other time.

“Then it hit me: In these modern tech times, why can’t there be a link between a driver and somebody in need of a bakkie?

“I’m passionate about leveraging technology for social impact and inclusion, creating social and economic opportunities for all,” added Sibanda, who grew up in rural Matabeleland North, and studied social work at the University of Zimbabwe.

Bakkiefy inventor Darlington Sibanda

Bakkiefy came to fruition after Sibanda shared his idea with a former secondary school classmate, Bheki Ndlovu, an actuarial scientist who had studied computer programming in South Africa.

"I showed him my idea," Sibanda said, "then he showed me some of the apps he had developed. That’s how it all started.”

Ndlovu also shared his skills as a business adviser with ­Sibanda and his South African partner Tshepo Mohlala, and they're preparing to launch the app commercially on 18 July, initially in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and ­Pretoria, but they have plans to expand the service to cities in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well the rest of the continent.

Bakkiefy works at the click of a button; the moment a customer orders a bakkie, it connects to the driver who is nearest to them. The Bakkiefy driver will help with loading and unloading, and will take responsibility the goods while in transit. Bakkiefy drivers will have to qualify through stringent driving tests, and have the necessary certification to work in their city, as well as a valid driving licence.

“They must undergo a background check and pass an alcohol and drug screening," said Sibanda, "Their vehicle insurance must be valid, and their vehicle must comply with all industry standards and traffic regulations governing their respective cities.”

Need to move a fridge? Find out more on the Bakkiefy website.

The Star