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Spaza shops upgraded in Gauteng

By Isabelle Coetzee

Pick ‘n Pay (PnP), in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED), are tackling township improvements as they helped upgrade another spaza shop last month in Gauteng. 

This forms part of the township revitalisation programme which, in collaboration with the Masisizane Fund, the Brimstone Legacy Fund, and the Old Mutual Foundation, aims to radically change the structure of the Gauteng economy. 

Through this project, shop owners are assisted in upgrading their businesses into contemporary retail stores with modern refrigeration and IT systems.

Those converted now offer up to 1300 products, including fresh produce, prepaid electricity, and liquor, creating easy access for local customers, and increased business for shop owners.

Following the success of seven conversions so far, another eight are due to take place before the end of this year.

“We are very excited about the progress we and our partners are making with this project,” said Richard van Rensburg, deputy CEO of PnP. 

“We believe [this] can make a big contribution to township revitalisation and supporting a new cadre of black business entrepreneurs,” he added.

The shop owner remains an independent entrepreneur who then simply benefits from PnP’s business management systems, their reliable distribution system, and their business advice. 

Additionally, shop owners have the opportunity to sharpen their business knowledge through PnP’s specially designed training courses, that constitutes both in-store and classroom training.

The most recent upgrade took place in Kagiso Township, where Phenyo Market, co-owned by Lekale-Leru Mashego and Phure Motshabi, was transformed into a large, modern store.

It now boasts a full bakery, deli, and butchery, as well as a liquor store. This will have a large impact on the community, who in the past had to travel 5km to reach the closest shops.

The upgrades have also allowed Mashego to employ 36 more people – which is six times the amount of his original employees, and helps combat local unemployment.

On the evening before opening, Mashego said he was “excited and a little bit nervous” about what lay ahead.

According to Millicent Maroga, head of the Old Mutual Foundation, so much can be achieved by working together to fulfil a common goal.

“We are helping local communities turn hardship into hope, and giving those with the desire to succeed an opportunity to fulfil their dreams,” she explained. 

“Independent retail can be a really strong part of transformation in our economy by giving opportunities for new entrants to establish and grow sustainable businesses,” she added.  

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