The Guard

The Truth On Board

Big break for smmes, informal traders

By Staff Reporter

QWAQWA- Vilakazi Motseki, a visually impaired Thaba Bosiu tuckshop owner, says the tools he received from NGO Masana, will boost his business.

“This is a relief to me as you see I am blind, I need people who can assist in running this tuckshop , that I have to pay with the little profit I make .It is very difficult to buy the stock in bulk or even expand .I started in 2017 and this assistance came at the right time when I needed it most. I am very happy .This is a big boost.

Motseki is among many formal and informal businesses in Maluti-a-phofung who received various forms of assistance and tools of trade to enable them grow, during an event held at Phuthaditjhaba multi-purpose hall on Wednesday.

Another tuckshop owner of Tshiame A in Harrismith , Petros Mofokeng , thanked the MMC for Local Economic Development (LED) Bridgett Lebesa for not focusing only on QwaQwa but making sure that even businesses from Tshiame are included.

“We would not have known about this had we not been approached by Me Malebesa during her outreach programme. This is going to enable us to save money while also growing our businesses.”

Speaking with this publication during handing over of the equipment to the beneficiaries ,Lebesa described the occasion as breakthrough towards developing both informal and formal businesses.

“One of the objectives of the department is to develop the smmes to enable them to move from point A to B . Smmes play a crucial role in the economic growth.
“When a business grow , the owner will be able to employ another person , thereby bridging the gap of unemployment and reducing poverty.”

Lebesa said some of the businesses that have befitted from the equipment were identified during her outreach programme.
“After my appointment to this department ,I did not sit in the office but I went out to our various towns like Kestell and Harrismith. During these interactions I was able to identify businesses that needed assistance. As you can see beneficiaries here are those who run car wash, tuckshops ,catering and chisa nyamas.The equipment purchased includes generators , as you know our area has a problem of regular power cuts.”

During the handing over of the equipment to both informal and formal businesses , CEO of Masan’s Nelisiwe Hlophe said as a registered NPO they work with small businesses to ensure that people have access to economic development especially in rural and urban informal areas.

“Masana got into a partnership through an application process and we were appointed by Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa as a strategic implementing partner in programmes that empower SMMEs and informal traders in black disadvantaged communities .For this specific funding Masana got to support SMMEs and informal traders in Maluti-a-phofung municipality , especially those who were affected by floods that happened in December 2021.”

She said to identify the beneficiaries ,Masana partnered with key stakeholders that worked closely with the businesses and municipality through its LED department.

“Initially , we supported more than 100 informal traders where we distributed equipment .What is unique about support of funding is that we do not give smmes money but we give them equipment which is more valuable. This serves to encourage people to look for equipment or stock that they need so that their businesses can become better.”