South Africa’s Drive to Mobile Cashless Parking System


South Africa’s Drive to Mobile Cashless Parking System

Penetration of the Smartphone technology in South Africa is getting deeper among the country’s population and making it possible for some parking industry startups and existing parking management companies to embrace mobile cashless parking systems.

Apart from offering parkers the convenience of payment with
their smartphones, the solution also “captures valuable insights about its users.”

The portion of South Africa’s population owning a smartphone rose from 25.77 percent in 2015 to 38 percent in 2019 with predictions it could increase to 41 percent by 2021. An estimated 20.4 million people owned a smartphone in South Africa by 2018. More people than ever have the technology to make mobile payments including paying for parking services or acquisition of related parking control systems.

“Some of the mobile payment services have recorded strong growth since their launches in recent years hence indicating a healthy appetite for mobile payments among consumers in South Africa,” says global consultancy firm Deloitte in the company’s 2019 Global Mobile Consumer Survey.

The survey’s findings show an estimated 14 percent of the respondents pay their parking fee via mobile payments in South Africa. The percentage is likely to go up if recent acquisitions in the country’s parking industry are an indicator of things to come.

For example, Servest, a leading parking management company in South Africa, holding an estimated 31 percent of the market share, announced in March 2020 its acquisition of a controlling stake in KaChing, South Africa’s first ticketless, cashless parking payment solution. KaChing holds the patent in the country for this cashless parking payment option.

The acquisition, according to Servest’s managing director Richard Mynhardt, puts the company in a good position to “drive technology and solutions-based services to enable our clients to improve the return on their assets with lower risk, higher revenues, and quality information”.

Servest, which also has operations in the countries of Namibia, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and Zambia, wants to take advantage of KaChing’s clout to achieve a long-term strategic objective of delivering innovative parking solutions to its customers, particularly, reduction of operating costs, driving up revenues, boosting security over cash and assets, and also enabling landlords ramp up their earnings.

KaChing being an industry-wide application can empower landlords to directly benefit through increased parking revenues, improved customer satisfaction, and a high degree of accuracy, such as knowing customers better for improved marketing decision-making, according to Servest.

The Servest and KaChing solution comes shortly after Servest acquired the agency of Germany parking management firm DESIGNA, which is associated with the management of parking in more than 6,000 complexes throughout the world.

Becoming an agent for DESIGNA in Africa places Servest, which also recently invested in its internal audit SPDM systems, “at the forefront of technology in the parking industry” according to Mynhardt.

For KaChing, the acquisition by Servest not only provides a platform for the roll out of the company’s innovative solutions but also creates best opportunity for making forays into the rest of Africa considering that Servest is the continent’s leading black-owned facility management company, according to KaChing’s, co-founder and Managing Director, Jaco Marais.

 “KaChing is an excellent example of disruptive technology which we are bringing to improve the parking experience in a mature industry,” added Marais.

Car owners keen on embracing the KaChing solution can download the app from Apple Store or Google Play store, after which they are provided with the option of entering their car’s registration number and credit card details to complete the registration.

With the KaChing app, license plate recognition cameras control the entry into or exit from a parking lot by capturing the details of the vehicle. Once it picks up the data, the parking boom opens automatically with no need for human intervention.

The app, which has been installed in key facilities in South Africa including 22 Netcare hospitals across the country, Mall of Africa, Melrose Arch, Thrupps, and Morningside Shopping Centre, “integrates software, smartphone app technology, proprietary hardware, and payment switching channels for this ultra-convenient way to pay for parking.”

Servest, which is one of the five parking management service providers dominating South Africa, especially in advisory services, revenue collection and management of parking operations, had previously announced an exclusive partnership with global mobile payments platform Zapper “to launch the first-of-its-kind virtual pay station for parking in South Africa.”

“The system is cashless and provides a fully automated alternative for the processing of parking ticket payments,” according to a brief by Servest.

“Using Zapper, which is a globally trusted and secure mobile payment technology, the system prints a unique QR code on the parking ticket, which is scanned by a customer using the Zapper app to make a payment before exiting the facility,” the company explains.

Apart from offering parkers the convenience of payment with their smartphones, the solution also “captures valuable insights about its users with each transaction, providing valuable information and engagement opportunities for the landlord.”

Other top-tier South Africa-based companies in the advisory services, revenue collection and management of parking operations in South Africa include Interpark, Karabo, Afripark and AdvanceOps.

Elsewhere, South Africa’s parking control systems market, such as supply of software and hardware equipment for parking management, is dominated by Zeag, Servest, Actek, Skidata and other smaller players.

Going into the future, there is potential for parking management companies, suppliers of parking control systems and mobile cashless parking payment platforms to integrate their operations to support South Africa transport sector in addressing the ever-increasing traffic congestion and scarcity of parking spaces especially in urban areas.

Shem Oirere is Parking Today’s reporter in Africa. He can be reached at

Article contributed by:
Shem Oirere
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