The mystery R41

2010-02-13 11:25

TRYING to track the impact of the R41 million mining magnate

­Patrice Motsepe has given to traditional leaders across the country to

encourage entrepreneurship in their villages has proven difficult.

Motsepe has been distributing the funds through his Motsepe

Provincial ­Rural Upliftment Trusts over the past three years.

A visit to three villages in North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga,

where the traditional leaders who ­received the funds reside, yielded

inconclusive results.

Local entrepreneurs claimed not to know about any enterprise

development initiative in their towns, while their leaders said the monies had

been channelled towards building classrooms, bringing water to communities and

other social ­development needs.

Chicco Sibanda, the president of the Pilansberg Chamber of Commerce

in Moruleng in North West, said they were unaware of the yearly donations.

“The chamber represents the business community and if there are any

funds meant for us, we are supposed to be the first ones to know about it,” he

said.

Sibanda’s assertion was backed by other entrepreneurs in

platinum-rich Moruleng, like street ­vendor Modiegi Khuduge and general trader

Moses Pilane.

Kgosi Molefe Pilane, who ­received the funds for North West, was

not available for comment, owing to illness.

The province’s chief executive of the tribal office and its public

relations ­people had not come back to us at the time of going to press.

In Phalaborwa’s Majeje village in Limpopo, where Hosi Mlunghisi

Ntsanwisi rules, street vendor Ben Mathebula said he had not benefited from the

funds provided by ­Motsepe. Most of the stores in Majeje are run by

foreigners.

Mathebula’s dream was to grow the stall he uses to sell fruit and

vegetables into a money-spinning grocery store.

However, it appears his dream will remain just that as he was

­clueless about where to obtain the funding.

Olga Mabhena of Engwanyemeni (formerly Klipfontein) in Mpumalanga

opened an eatery in neighbouring KwaMhlanga last year.

But the business collapsed due to low consumer demand and her

miscalculation of the cost of the capital ­requirements.

Mabhena, who has since opened a spaza shop to make ends meet, said

her eatery could have survived had funds been made easily accessible to

community members such as herself.

Andrew Matobe, who monitors how the trust disburses funds for

Motsepe, said the traditional leaders were working with government to increase

the visibility of the trust.

“The trust fund is meant to ­benefit the community and we are

­working towards making sure that they are aware of it.”

He said most of the funds had been channelled towards renovating

schools and farming projects, like poultry and planting of maize.

“The aim is to give economic ­opportunities to the rural

communities,” he said.

Nkosi Enoch Makhosonke Mabhena, the ruler of the Ndebeles in

Mpumalanga, said the money was used to address more pressing ­issues in various

villages.

Nkosi Mabhena, also an acting provincial chairperson for the

Motsepe trust fund in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape, said R558 000 was approved

to build four classrooms in Bushbuck Ridge, while R300 000 was set aside to

erect a sewing ­factory in the Gert Sibande district ­municipality.

In Engwenyameni, R450 000 would be used to put up submersible pumps

in a number of schools.

“In the Northern Cape, the ­money would be used to start businesses

that would rent out tents and trailers for cars,” said Nkosi ­Mabhena.

He said the tenders for the projects would only be awarded to black

suppliers and construction companies. He said they had ­advised Mpumalanga

entrepreneurs to organise themselves into cooperatives in order to improve their

chances of survival.

Local entrepreneurs, especially retailers, were facing huge

survival challenges due to the low consumer ­demand that resulted from the

­economic downturn and job losses.

Funds for entrepreneurial development in these economies could give

the locals a fighting chance.

Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, who chairs the Eastern Cape Rural

­Upliftment Trust, said the province received R4 million.

“Nine schools have each been ­given the sum of R200 000 for

renovations that they deem necessary,” said Nkosi Holomisa.

“These schools have been identified by the kings and chairpersons

of the respective traditional regional authorities. An agricultural promotion

project in Maluthi acquired a tractor with a trailer, a plough, planter,

disc-harrow, fertiliser, seed and herbicides,” he said.

Holomisa added that R1.5 million had been distributed to the

­AmaGebe clan to build two ­pre-schools.

Hosi Mlungisi Ntsanwisi, the chairperson of the Limpopo trust, said

the trustees had agreed to first rollout the funds to areas without tribal

leaders.

“We are starting with other places because we don’t want to give

off an impression that the money is solely used to benefit our communities,”

said Hosi Ntsanwisi.

He said the money meant for ­Limpopo had been used to drill

boreholes in Sekhukhune and to ­install water purifiers and geysers at a school

with water containing lime.

 


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