Deputy Minister Thembi Siweya: Play Your Part Business Workshop and Mentorship event

7 Jan 2020

Address by Deputy Minister in the Presidency-  Ms. Thembi Siweya at Play Your Part Business Workshop & Mentorship event, Mayibuye Cultural Centre, Hulana Street, Galeshewe, Kimberley

Programme Director Sibusiso Molimi, members of the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Good Morning. I am delighted to be here today to workshop and explore township entrepreneurship.

Yesterday we woke up to the sad news that one of our greatest business stalwarts, Dr Richard Maponya had passed away. Can we please have a moment of silence to reflect on this loss as a people.

Dr Maponya was an entrepreneur and property developer best known for building a business empire despite the restrictions of apartheid, and his determination to see the Soweto township develop economically. His biggest project to date is the joint venture with Zenprop in the construction of the Maponya Mall. It is one of the biggest malls in South Africa.

I mention all of this, because Dr Maponya was a true role model, whose determination and perseverance shone the light on Black empowerment. Economic transformation and job creation are among the seven priorities identified by President Ramaphosa.

Ten years ago township-based businesses were not as formalised as they are now and they were not as innovative. They were mostly only trading business that resold products produced by other nations. Access to training and development of black or township entrepreneurs and access to markets still needs to be addressed for growth to be evident.

The Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA), was established exactly for that reason. Their focus is on empowering township based businesses through sharing and imparting knowledge, skills development, enterprise development and access to markets. It opens up advocacy for young people to consider starting and running their own businesses.

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency responsible for managing the country’s image and reputation. This requires consistently spearheading programmes and platforms that leverage on ways to enhance awareness of the Nation Brand identity, image and competitiveness. Play Your Part is one of our flagship programmes, designed to encourage and promote active citizenship for global competitiveness. We all have to play our part in ensuring that we grow the economy and unite behind the Nation Brand with pride and patriotism. It is our duty to ensure that our people and nation thrives to showcase who we are and what we are capable of achieving as a nation.

Our values of Ubuntu are enshrined in our constitution, which means that when one of us succeeds, they open doors for others to do the same. The ripple effect of that is a successful nation. We are so privileged, to live in a country that allows us to be whoever we choose to be, without judgement, where we are backed and protected by our own Constitution.

Nothing nurtures a sense of shared national pride better than a country consciously making efforts in nation building activities. This is why Play Your Part Ambassadors like Bulelani Balabala, the Founder of TEA, play a significant role in the positive impact through their social activism.

TEA has directly impacted over 28 000 entrepreneurs and 20 000 High School learners in the townships and they have been running for only five years now. This is Play Your Part in action. We commend you for your dedication and passion in improving the lives of many people in the townships. The 22-million people living in townships and informal settlements account for 38% of the country’s working-age citizens, and also make up 60% of the country’s unemployed.

Let us therefore applaud initiatives like the TEA which focus on finding solutions for our people. The work you do behind the scenes to advocate for entrepreneurship has a greater impact than you could imagine. Thank you for going into our communities and spreading the right message.

As Brand South Africa, we fully support this initiative and hope that today will be an eye opening and productive opportunity for us all, to learn and share ideas on how we can make this country a shining example to its people and to the world at large. I thank you.

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