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NAFCOC IN BID TO REVIVE RETAIL BUSIENSSES IN RURAL AREAS

Nafhold, the investment arm of the National Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), will dispose of R1.5 billion worth of shares in Tsogo Sun.
Nafcoc secretary-general Gilbert Mosena yesterday said the decision had been taken by the shareholders of Nafhold at a meeting in March.

“Nafhold will dispose of R1.5bn of shares in hotel and casino owner Tsogo Sun to Tsogo Investment Holdings in a buyback scheme.”

However, a certain percentage would be kept as preferential shares within Tsogo Sun. ensuring Nafcoc continued to receive direct funding through dividends for seven years.

Mosena said qualifying Nafcoc members would receive cash payouts for the value of their shares.

In addition, R5 million would be set aside to establish the JK Hlongwane bursary fund to develop entrepreneurship education in SA.

The rest of the proceeds would be used to set up the Bokamoso Equity Fund. This would provide members with micro-finance assistance loans of between Rl 000 arid R50 000.

The fund would also help to revive township and rural business as well as provide loans of R500000 or more in terms of broad-based black economic empowerment.

Nafcoc president Lawrence Mavundla said yesterday’s briefing had allowed them to respond to recent media speculation.

He said reports that said Nafhold would be liquidated were incorrect.

Mosena said the current process of unlocking the value of Nafhold’s assets was a completely different one to that mooted by the previous leadership of Nafcoc under Buhle Mthethwa.

“That was a legal process, which wouldhave ended with Nafhold being put under curatorship.”

However, the current process was a divestiture, the aim of which was to sell part of the assets in Tsogo Sun in order to recapitalise.

This would allow Nafhold to involve itself in other projects.

Mavundla said that at every Nafcoc conference there were complaints about gaining access to finance by small businesses.

“We can’t sit with assets and have members complaining about funding, so we decided to take some of the funds lo unlock value.”

Going to sources such as the Industrial Development Corporation for funding could prove onerous for small businesses.

It was also important that Nafcoc had branches in all nine provinces.

“One of the most important things is accessibility, and the people who need the funding most are in rural areas or townships,” said Mavundla, adding that it was Nafcoc’s aim to revive retail businesses in the townships.

“Most shops are closed or owned by foreigners, and that says there is a gap and nothing is being done.”

Mavundla said Nafcoc knew the people to whom it would lend.

“This will make it easy for us to collect repayments, and the paperwork will be minimal.”

Source: Saturday Star – SAPA