By Emily Setona
QWAQWA – The new Free State Development Corporation’s (FDC) board of directors has adopted an ambitious and more client-centred turnaround plan that includes regular engagement with the corporation’s tenants.
The new board members held a meet and greet session recently with FDC’s tenants at the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality (TMDM) council chambers. The aim of the session was to solicit the tenant’s inputs that could help map a way forward.
They are Thabang Motloi – chair of Finance and Investment committee); Isaac Mareh – member of Finance and Investment committee); Zimkitha Nhlapo – chair of Legal committee); Snowey Kgetha (chair of Human Resources [HR] committee); and Lucky Motsamai – member of HR committee. They came into office in February 2022.
Motloi said: “As the new board members, the province has requested us to turn this entity around and to return it to its former its glory when all its properties were up to scratch and the entity was able to support and develop SMMEs. We would like to hear your views and ideas so that we can map a way forward; let us be open and frank with each other.”
Some of the key issues raised by the tenants were security; service delivery especially power supply, water and sanitation; ownership of property by tenants and financial assistance in the light of the impact of COVID and post-COVID financial strains on businesses.
“The security issue is mostly caused by the dilapidated factory shells that are vandalized and harbour thieves. We have cut down trees, cut the grass but the criminals keep coming back. This is not good for our businesses,” one of the tenants Dyke Mbuli said.
“To solve this issue, businesses have employed their own security guards but each factory owner is looking out for themselves; there is no collective effort to curb the crime,” another one Nelson Moekoa said.
Tefo Matla the district manager for the region said the Department of Trade , industry and competition DTIC assisted the FDC to install surveillance cameras which have since been vandalised.
In response, Khetha said: “We are busy interviewing security guards who will be employed to patrol both occupied and unoccupied factory shells so as to maximize security efforts. This process should be done in the next one or two months.”
Motloi added: “If tenants paid their rent then the FDC would not be in this situation; there would be enough cash flow to maintain the buildings and assist businesses. Business owners have a legal obligation to pay their rent. This is not just FDC’s problem but also involves the tenants; therefore, input from both sides could lead to a better solution.”