Sunday World

Cry the beloved black economy

Masingita Group blames government for failure to act swiftly

- By Bongani Mdakane and Kabelo Khumalo

Black business lodestar Mike Nkuna, the founder and executive chairman of Masingita Group, has hit out at the lax approach of the government in quelling unrests that has left mayhem in its wake.

Nkuna in 1983 founded Masingita Group. The company has been involved in property developmen­t, constructi­on and property management.

The Masingita Group has developed several shopping malls, primarily targeting rural areas and townships with the main goal of fulfilling the socio-economic developmen­t requiremen­ts of these areas.

Some of the malls owned by the group in Gauteng were not spared the anarchy that enveloped Kwazulu Natal.

Nkuna, in an interview with Sunday World, said properties owned by the group suffered losses of just over R3-billion.

He said the destructio­n and looting at Jabulani Mall amounted to at least R2-billion, while the damage caused at Protea Mall goes to R600-million and Bara Mall R300-million, adding that all this could have been avoided had law enforcemen­t got its act together.

“The leaders of this country have no plan and vision to run this country effectivel­y, as the government fails to look at the problem at hand. Businesses went up in flames and looted under the government’s watch.

“In Jabulani Mall, a police station is just across the street, but looters disregarde­d that and attacked the mall and looted while leaving a trail of destructio­n behind,” he said.

“Our township economy is destroyed, and the same businesses that put bread on the table in Soweto are vandalised and looted. This whole thing is going to scare investors, and this means that the same people who looted are going to be affected by their actions post this trail of destructio­n.”

Other shopping malls owned by Masingita include Masingita Mall in Giyani, Zebediela Plaza in Polokwane, Boitumelo Junction in Free State and Masingita Crossing in Malamulele.

Refilwe Monageng, Gauteng spokespers­on of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said black businesses were sabotaged by political unrest.

“Black-owned businesses in particular cannot afford this turmoil. Black entreprene­urs throughout South Africa have already been in crisis mode for well over a year following various forms of lockdown restrictio­ns since March 2020,” said Monageng.

The Black Business Council (BBC) said that the worstaffec­ted establishm­ents during the looting and destructio­n are black-owned small, micro and medium enterprise­s.

“Many of our members in different industries have been negatively affected in various ways. The BBC will be meeting with the government and financial institutio­ns to work on a package of relief measures that will assist in reopening of businesses,” said BBC president Sandile Zungu.

Another group that has invested significan­tly in the township economy is Old Mutual-controlled Community Property Fund. It owns Alexandra Plaza, Diepsloot Mall, Eyethu Orange Farm Mall, Gateway Mall, Heidelberg Mall and Sontonga Mall in Katlehong.

Smital Rambhai, the portfolio manager at CPF, said it was too early to quantify losses. “We feel the military deployment should have occurred from 8 July. We are disappoint­ed at the government,” said Rambhai.

In Jabulani Mall, a police station is just across the street

 ?? /Gallo Images ?? South African National Defence Force members patrol Jabulani Mall in Soweto this week to assist the police quell the violence in Gauteng.
/Gallo Images South African National Defence Force members patrol Jabulani Mall in Soweto this week to assist the police quell the violence in Gauteng.

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