Business/ 24 October 2022,09:45am / Mpho Mokoena
Free State Destea MEC Makalo Mohale: image supplied
By Mpho Mokoena: Although the economy in Free State province is dropping, MEC for Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) Makalo Mohale, is working tirelessly to pick it up.
Earlier this year when he was tabling his departmental budget vote, Mohale promised to revitalize township and rural economy of the Province.
Last week Mohale began to implement his highly anticipated plan by having a discussion with township business owners and unemployed graduates of Dihlabeng Local Municipality.
Mohale further met with entrepreneurs in Maluti a Phofung Local municipality where about 5000 SMMEs involving Automotive (panel beating, motor mechanics and electricians), Burial societies, Stokvels, Plumbers, toilet paper manufactures Bakeries, Recycling, tuck-shops owners, fashion designers, Car wash business owners, Agro-processors, Saloons, logistics, manufacturing, etc including unemployed graduates gathered under one roof in Harrismith and in Makeneng, Qwaqwa to tackle daunting challenges besetting township enterprises.
Speaking to SMMEs owners, MEC Mohale has encouraged them to unite and work together instead of opening businesses selling the same products or services in one area but rather consider new viable businesses which will serve as an economic value chain amongst themselves.
“When there is a car wash in one street then the other business can sell products needed for the car wash to efficiently operate so that car wash owners buy products from nearby SMME.” he said
Mohale explained that many township businesses collapsed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, poor marketing strategies, and lack of business and financial management skills.
“The importance of intertwining the said working session with entities such as Free State Gambling Liquor and Tourism Authority (FSGLTA) inclusive of Free State Development Cooperation (FDC), National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and South African Revenue Services (SARS) in order where possible to respond immediately challenges that businesses are faced with.”
The department has announced that it will continue to work with municipalities to come up with policies to ensure that township businesses are supported with necessary.
Mohale also indicated that the immediate solution they have taken, is that unemployed graduates will be placed in different township businesses to offer their expertise such as bookkeeping, marketing, financial management, etc.
“Though as DESTEA, we operate within limited resources, mainly budget and priorities but through effective and efficient implementation of the Local Economic Development and Transformation Bill the vision to construct sustainable and viable businesses which will contribute to the economy of our Province is key on the list because these working sessions bounce constructive ideas addressing the real issues so that when mapping approaches to engage and encourage economic mainstream drivers and attracting investors including tourists we have already provided technical skills and knowledge to our township business owners.
We have also bestowed many enterprises with an opportunity to expose and showcase their products and services to potential buyers and investors at the national and international level,” said MEC Mohale.
As part of accelerating his department plans to revive the economy Mohale gave the Buddies for Life Agency a small business based in Makeneng village,a printer worth R78 000.
One of the people who was also assisted is a farmer, Ms. Mosele Mokoena.
Mokoena who hails from Semphurwaneng village has plans to plant vegetables for processing and bottling at the beginning of the planting season. This initiative will lead to the opportunity of employing more other people; she was assisted with two big JOJO tanks, nets, and fencing as she operates within the Agricultural sector.
Speaking to FS Insider, Mokoena couldn’t hide her excitement after MEC Mohale assisted her with business needs.
“I am excited because today after so many years I stand tall and come to witness what the government of the day has been promising to the people. I can proudly confirm that good things come to those who wait; based on the fact that I hailed from a very downtrodden and disadvantaged family, I was under the impression that only middle-class people are considered but today God has answered my prayers through Ntate Mohale’s initiative of improving the lives and the economy in rural areas,” said Mokoena.
In Maluti a Phofung Local Municipality, DESTEA assisted 49 tuck-shops, 12 enterprises supported with business plan development, financial management skills, Company Tax support services, Marketing, and Legal services, and three industrialisation.
While Informal Micro Enterprises Development Programme supported 83 enterprises; SEFA about 32 SMMEs; SETA about nine.
In his conclusion, MEC Mohale stated that the department will continue to remain critical in a noble quest to deliver quality services in reviving the economy of rural and township areas, not only to specific people but to the entire Province.
“We will never end to act with speed and urgency where possible to accelerate commitments made.” said Mohale