By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – The Maluti-a-Phofung (MAP) business community gathered at the Phuthaditjaba multipurpose hall on November 30, for a business seminar organised by various national, provincial, and local government agencies to empower local business people.
In keeping her previous promise to the community of MAP the deputy minister to the presidency Nomasontho Motaung brought together the Deputy Ministers of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Nomalungelo Gina, and Fikile Majola, and the Free State MEC of the Department of Economic, Small Business, Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) Thabo Meeko to address the business people.
“On November 10, the national and provincial governments were here to establish what the critical needs of this community.
“On November 9 I was here with the business community and as the champion of the District Development Model (DDM), I promised that on the 30th I would be back with the deputy ministers of DTIC. I have kept my promise, and I will continue to come back to this community to make sure that we as government keep all the promises that we have made to our people,” Motaung said.
During the question-and-answer session the business people thanked the DM for keeping her promise and directed questions at the deputy ministers of DTIC and the MEC of DESTEA.
Themba Shwala of ward 35 who is an informal trader selling fast foods asked for assistance to grow his business.
“As someone who sells food and asking for assistance from government I’d really like to ask for a very simple thing. I’d like the relevant government agency to make an example of me so that next time when we gather here again, I will be one of the businesspeople standing on stage sharing their success stories with these very same business people.
“I also want to ask the people gathered here to support my business by buying from me instead of supporting the big franchise restaurants that are owned by people that they don’t even know.”
Shwala made his unequivocal request after listening to the presentations of the successful business journeys from the business owners of local brands KemiChem, Phantom VI Wine and Lulugas who have been helped by government.
In response to the questions asked by the businesspeople gathered at the event, MEC Meeko said: “Government is there to assist new entrants to leverage on the economic situation that is created to keep the SMMEs from entering the mainstream market.
“Government needs to build its capacity to respond to people’s applications, not just DESTEA but most of government institutions. SMMEs need to be assisted to grow because they are the governments prerequisite for creating employment.”
At the same occasion, DM Majola said government must hold people by the hand and make sure that business people who have been assisted by government succeed.
Deputy minister to the presidency and DDM champion Nomasonto Motaung at MAP business seminar.
“This system of government sending people ‘we regret’ messages through their email must stop. Government officials must face people and look them in the eye and give people them proper assistance and tell them how far they are in their application process and what is still outstanding for them to be assisted.
“Government institutions were not thinking about township businesses such as spaza shop owners when they were created.” Majola pointed out.
Local and district executive mayors Masetjhaba Mosia – Lakaje and Conny Msibi respectively were among the guests present at this event.