On any Sunday, many minibus taxis with trailers in Park station in Johannesburg are filled to the brim with consumer goods and appliances ready to make the journey to Beitbridge border and major cities across Zimbabwe. To transport your goods across the border — a small bag will cost you around R150 ($9.25).
There are more than three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, as the country struggles with hyperinflation and shortages of basic goods. For Zimbabweans with family connections in the country, South Africa is an important shopping destination. For many it is simply too expensive to shop in Zimbabwe and often products are out of stock.
Seeing an opportunity in the market and identifying the pressing need for affordable goods in Zimbabwe — Hello Paisa created the cross-border ecommerce app called Malaicha, or “deliverer of goods” in Ndebele. Customers make their purchases using the app — receive a reference number — and pay for their items online or at Malaicha outlets in Yeoville, Hillbrow, Diepsloot and Braamfontein in South Africa. Retailers such as Checkers, Shoprite, Spar, Game, and Boxer can also facilitate payments in South Africa, and customers can also shop via QR code in the outlet.
Once the payment is made — goods can be picked up from outlets in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru. The app alerts the beneficiaries in Zimbabwe via an SMS with a reference code to collect the items. Malaicha also provides delivery services to your door for customers unable to collect.
There are more than 700 items available for purchase, and customers can use any form of identification to register and buy groceries such as maize meal, chicken, pasta, and tea. The app currently caters for Zimbabwean nationals, but there are plans to expand to Malawi and Mozambique.