A partnership between the South African Spaza Shops Co-operative (SASSCOP) and a national retailer could see spaza shops as we know it becoming a thing of the past.
The initiative would see the spazas becoming supermarkets and thereby creating more employment opportunities.
This was among the proposals discussed at a meeting held at Harare Library, on Monday April 11, between Sasscop and Spar Western Cape. If all goes according to plan, the retail chain’s regional executive managers would conduct formal training and look at creative ways of growing and developing entrepreneurs in the townships.
Sasscop founder and national chairperson, Bongani Vakele, described the partnership as the best time to explore opportunities and to take African products and services across the country’s borders. He said Sasscop’s focus on spaza shops was based on their ability to create jobs through entrepreneurship.
“We are taking spazas to another level. Spar is a credible partner to work with and a cooperative, that is why we have approached them. This has a brighter side to it. We want to keep Khayelitsha’s economy intact. We do not want to take the money out of the area. But we’re doing this for all of our people. We have the idea for Mitchell’s Plain too. Most importantly, this is for mutual benefit,” he said.
Mr Vakele said more meetings were planned.
“There are many ways that we can use each other. We can use the store as a hub or a wholesale where we give money and they give us a stock of that amount. We can use it as our wholesale. We are positive because we have members on our side. We can use them as muscle,” he said.
Speaking to Vukani after the meeting, Harare store manager Abel Mponda, said he was happy with the idea. He said the store’s plan was to build a nation of entrepreneurs, to grow the economy and create jobs.
He cited the store’s partnership with Khayelitsha’s independent entrepreneur Lufefe Nomjana as an example of what could be achieved when partnerships were formed with local business owners.
“God works in mysterious ways. When we started with Mr Nomjana, it was not easy. But now things have worked perfectly well. I hope something positive will come out of this. I am happy with Mr Nomjana’s development. I am also happy with development with the spaza shops. There will be another meeting where the managing director would be present. But I am positive we will come up with a workable solution to the proposals,” he said.
Mr Nomjana, who is popularly known for producing a spinach bread, has been working with the store for four years now. He said he was happy that spazas were growing to something bigger.
He said there was a lot of potential in Khayelitsha – and other areas – that needed to be nurtured.