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Business History

With the rising resistance to apartheid in 1986, activists targeted white-owned companies that were delivering products to townships. These included bakery and dairy trucks. Many trucks were set alight, in-transit products looted, and delivery crews brutally assaulted. As an immediate response, trucks seeking entrance to townships, first sought armed escort from the nearest police station. With limited vehicles available to police stations, not all trucks could be provided with this highly sought after service by the police stations. Companies suffered losses, and local communities were not spared as Spaza and Shop shelves became bare, businesses lost revenues and residents were not able to purchase their preferred product brands. Businesses and consumers resorted to buying whatever alternative product could be stocked on the shelves.

To address the pressing problem of access to consumer products, an allowance was made for black business to transport goods into townships. On the outskirts of townships, a bustling trade emerged where township retailers would transfer goods into whatever vehicles were available, and travel the short distance to their business. Then trading as Monale's Dairy, Ikageng Kgabo Distribution sought logistics contracts with FMCG companies, and in 1986 secured a contract with Clover SA.

With bold marking on its refrigerated trucks, Ikageng delivered dairy products to various retail outlets throughout Soweto. With a continued highly charged township atmosphere, the delivery trucks faced many risks, and on several occasions the delivery personnel were accosted by activists, and with a criminal element operating under cover, in certain instances product and cash was stolen, and the trucks vandalized. Operations continued and expanded to include on-board armed security and bolted cash safes. Increasing demand from retailers, it became increasingly difficult for the trucks to make several trips between the Clover Mayfair Depo and Soweto. Ikageng set up a dairy distribution centre in Dobsonville Soweto in 1987. From this facility, retailers were able to source product. This was especially convenient to those who bought small quantities that were not economically viable for the trucks to deliver. In this manner several Spaza Shops were supported and developed during this time.

Over the years, although plagued by sporadic criminal incidents, the trading environment in Soweto improved, and soon the targeted FMCG companies were able to resume normal operations in the township. In 1992, Ikageng restructured and focused on its logistics business, delivering Clover products to major retailers such as BP, Engen, Sasol, Shoprite, Pick 'n Pay, Spar, and Food Lovers Market. In keeping with its early tradition, the company also continues to support smaller retailers, and Spaza Shops.