Tea with Moosa Manjra

Venue:  Craft, Parkhurst.  (R29 for organic African blend tea).  Trendy, expensive.  Not wheelchair friendly. Great service.

“And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”  So says Deuteronomy 10:19, scriptures sacred to Judaism and Christianity.

The Hello Group, particularly Hello PAISA, are one of the main sponsors of the Bollywood Festival’s International Concert featuring Sono Nigam of India and Atif Aslam of Pakistan at Sandton Convention Centre from 2-4 December 2016.  I chatted to Moosa Manjra, the Chief Operating Officer of Hello PAISA to find out more about this.


Manjra explained that he had some inkling of the problems of the migrant communities living in South Africa because he had once been a South African migrant living, studying and working in London.  It gave him an empathy with migrants living, studying and working in South Africa.

The Hello Group’s first product, ten years ago now, was Hello Mobile, which allows people to make calls to their home countries at very competitive prices.  For example one can Ireland or Pakistan for only R1.00 a minutes, and India and Nigeria for only 50c a minute.  Calls to China cost 60c a minute.  It is a perfect example of low cost, high volume marketing.

While looking after customers the Group asked what else they could do to help the migrants.  The answer came back that they wanted to send money back home safely, legally, instantly and at a low cost. The Group worked with the Reserve Bank to formulate a plan for this, and eighteen months ago, it was implemented.

There are no complicated forms and impossible requirements to fulfill.  The person has to have a valid passport and valid South African papers (usually asylum papers) and can then send up to R5000 per day to their home country up to a maximum of R25000 a month.  This can be done at any bank or large supermarket group.  For families back home, as well as those living in South Africa, this is a huge blessing.

Hello PAISA employ a large number of migrants, both as sales people, and as call centre agents where people will speak to the customer in their own language.  This makes the Group very diverse in its staff composition.

I asked about the xenophobia which is rampant in South Africa, constantly bubbling under the surface.  Manjra explained that things are currently calm with none of his staff expressing disquiet, but that when there was a flare-up in KZN earlier this year, the Hello Group was part of the team of carers distributing blankets and other comforts.

This care and compassion for its customers is why Hello PAISA get involved with sponsorship of musicians from their customers’ home countries.  They are involved with a project to bring out a well known musician from Zimbabwe, and this Bollywood Festival which is bringing out artists from both Pakistan (Atif Aslam) and India (Sonu Nigam).  Each of their customers will get a free seat to the concert so that they can experience an evening of nostalgia and memories.

I salute Hello PAISA for partnering with Blu Blood to bring out these artists to entertain their clients.  Their website is http://www.hellopaisa.co.za and their call centre number is 012 880 1800.





About moirads

Clergy person, theatre and music lover, avid reader, foodie. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love (or hate).
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