Soweto tycoon to spend R1.1bn expanding businesses

Posted On Thursday, 29 September 2011 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Soweto businessman Richard Maponya plans to invest just over R1.1 billion within two years in building another mall and a motor dealership network.

Richard MaponyaFour years after opening the multi-million rand Maponya Mall, Soweto businessman Richard Maponya plans to invest just over R1.1 billion within two years in building another mall and a motor dealership network.

Known as the founding father of black retail business in SA, Maponya, who built the R650-million Maponya Mall, that is located in the heart of Soweto, in 2007, says it has "been a success".

In an exclusive interview with I-Net Bridge/BusinessLIVE, the entrepreneur said on Tuesday that he planned to list his business interests on the JSE "soon".

As part of his new investment plans, Maponya intends to spend R650 million, with the help of financial institutions, to build a mall in his home town of Polokwane, in Limpopo Province. He said he wanted to open this mall in the first quarter of next year.

"There is a beautiful spot in Polokwane and I will possibly be putting another mall there," Maponya said.

He said he felt that without all the restrictive laws and red tape involved, he would have started the Polokwane project already.

"You know things are delayed by the red streams that have to be cut, despite the fact that the playing field is level. But there are still laws that are really restrictive, laws that should be done away with if we want to see ourselves progressing in creating more jobs and putting up businesses that will employ more people," Maponya said.

He said he was inspired by China's business policies.

"In China I am told that if you are a businessman and want to start something you are actually being assisted by taking away all the restrictive laws that waste time. Yet in our country you would come up with a good idea of establishing something and that will take you six months or more, discussing the same thing and to me that is unacceptable," he added.

To further expand his business empire, Maponya also said that he planned to open the R450-million Maponya Motor City dealership in a 50-50 partnership with Barloworld, the JSE-listed industrial group.

This partnership will initially bring one Toyota dealership and one Volkswagen outlet to Soweto before the end of this year.

Maponya said the launch of two additional dealerships next year was in the pipeline, adding that he was in discussions with Mercedes-Benz SA and General Motors SA.

The 91-year-old businessman said that he was embarking on these business ventures in Soweto because of the contribution of the Soweto people to his successes. He believes that the best way to thank them is by creating more jobs for them, and making their lives easier.

He said that he felt that the unemployment rate in SA was too high and vowed that he would not rest until he saw a difference through his Maponya Institute, where people were being taught the required skills for starting and running their own businesses.

Maponya said he had accomplished "what I had dreamt about", but was still planning to build more malls if possible. "As far as I am concerned I am going to be working until the end of the day," he said.

Last modified on Monday, 11 November 2013 12:48

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