Richard Granville Baloyi was born on 1897 and lived in Alexandra north of Johannesburg in 1922. His first job was that of a taxi driver but in 1925 he became a taxi owner. In 1927 he purchased his first buses and shortly afterwards he and other bus owners founded the Alexandra Bus Owners' Association. The buses travelled regularly between Johannesburg and Alexandra and met the demand for cheap transport. However, this brought them into competition with bus companies controlled by whites.
By 1940 the Alexandra Bus Owners' Association was forced out of the market by a combination of legislation to entrench the position of South African Railways and competition from the better funded white-owned operations.Baloyi was often involved in disputes concerning bus fares to and from Alexandra. Between 1939 and 1940 he apparently opposed the lowering of bus fares, though he claimed that he was fending for the inhabitants of Alexandra. When in August 1943 the bus fare was increased and the inhabitants of Alexandra started a general bus boycott, Baloyi was a member of the Emergency Transport Committee who negotiated with the bus company for the lowering of the fare to the original.As community leader of Alexandra Baloyi also served on the local health committee.
In the 1940s local white interests began to threaten the right to freehold in Sophiatown and Alexandra and by 1943 Baloyi was chairperson of the Alexandra Anti-Expropriation Committee, a committee trying to protect the interests of African entrepreneurs of Alexandra. On his letterhead Baloyi identified himself as the managing director of the Alexandra Land Industrial and Investment Company (an estate agency) and director of the Rustenburg Bus Service Pty Ltd. He was president of the Bantu Sports Club and a prominent member of the Bantu Methodist Church.
In 1943 he was a member of the Atlantic Charter Committee of the ANC which had to study and discuss problems arising out of the Atlantic Charter in so far as it related to Africa. The charter had originally been drawn up by Great Britain and the United States of America in 1941 as a "blueprint for future peace and security" and emphasised the maintenance of human rights. The committee had to draw up a statement on the charter "from the standpoint of the Africans within the Union of South Africa" called the African Claims, and draft a Bill of Rights. From 1944 Baloyi was one of the leaders of the anti-pass campaign.
In 1937 he was elected treasurer-general of the African National Congress
(ANC) until 1948. In the same year he was elected vice-president of the Non-European United Front which came into existence when the South African Communist Party
(SACP), the National Liberation League
, the ANC and other groups joined forces in an effort to establish a broad and powerful national movement co-ordinating all protest actions by blacks. The front, however, did not exist for very long by 1942 the ANC withdrew its support, while coloured members preferred to establish their own organisation. In May 1939 Baloyi was a member of the ANC deputation to Cape Town who met with the Minister of Native Affairs and the parliamentary representatives of the Africans. On this occasion Baloyi asked for one identification document instead of several different passes as was the case then and warned that the pass laws made criminals of the people. He also asked for the recognition of traditional chief.
Baloyi's position within the ANC became increasingly controversial. At the ANC annual conference in December 1947 his financial report as treasurer-general was rejected because it had not been audited. The following year he did not attend the conference and an acting treasurer was appointed. At that stage he was regarded with suspicion because of his support for a National Party candidate for Senate his membership of the Transvaal branch of the ANC was in fact suspended for three years. He appealed against the suspension and at the annual conference in December 1949 it was lifted. In view of this and the fact that he had neglected his duties as treasurer, he was not re-elected as treasurer-general. However, he was elected to the national executive committee, but his former prominent political role was largely over. From 1952 he increasingly identified with the National Minded Bloc in the ANC, a conservative faction predominantly consisting of relatively wealthy businessmen which opposed the co-operation of the ANC with the SACP and the alleged communist influence on the ANC. Baloyi was married to Elizabeth Baloyi and though his death certificate indicates that he had no children, he named a son as executor, and probably also had three daughters.
Baloyi seems to have had a reputation as a controversial figure, as was the case with the bus fare dispute in 1939 - 1940. His controversiality came to a head in 1945 when it became known that he was a member of a deputation to Cape Town to discuss the possible incorporation of Alexandra into Johannesburg with members of parliament. This was deemed an act of treason by the Alexandra inhabitants and at a mass meeting in the township the following resolution was accepted: "Mr R.G. Baloyi of this Township shall be no more a leader of any class of the African people of this Township until he dies." His political career started in about 1937 when he was elected to the Native Representative Council
(NRC) and together with other NRC members contributed to reviving interest in the declining African National Congress (ANC). The councillors travelled widely and used their position to arouse interest in the ANC. Baloyi remained a councillor until 1942.
In 1948 Baloyi was one of the ANC delegates to negotiations with the All-African Convention (AAC) a national organisation originally founded in the 1930s to protest the downgrading of the African franchise. The ANC hoped to achieve closer unity between the two organisations and to overcome rivalry. These talks failed. In January 1949 riots broke out between Africans and Indians in Durban. This led to a meeting between representatives of the ANC with Baloyi one of the delegates, the South African Indian Congress (SAIC) and other African and Indian leaders in Durban on 6 February 1949.