Stokvels and tuckshop owners in Metsimaholo, in the Free State, have launched their own supermarket.
Upkasi Supermarket is the first of its kind in the area.
The launch was held in Zamdela, in Sasolburg, and the store founders say it lays a foundation that intends to develop a model of assisting Black businesses. It is also in line with the government’s township economic recovery plan.
Upkasi supermarket chain stores founder and director, Piet Mothepu, says the company is 100% Black-owned and aims to develop and restore Black local economy back to the community in a form of affordable investment opportunities as well as create sustainable jobs.
“Upkasi was started by stokvel and tuckshop owners around Metsimaholo in June this year. Effects of COVID-19 made us realise that as business owners we must join hands and work together and in that way we will have a greater voice, buying power, and using models such as crowd-funding and investment we will surely revive our township economy” says Mothepu.
The stokvel started with seven members, who worked together and bought stock in bulk. It has now grown to 25 active members, who own and have shares in the Upkasi Supermarket.
The first Upkasi supermarket is now open and in operation at Mooidraai next to the old farmhouse.
“We have a big and a bold plan, we will be opening other Upkasi supermarkets around Metsimaholo in the near future, and working with other role players such as emerging farmers, other Black-owned supermarkets and various organisations and stakeholders we will be able to grow our business to processing, packaging and distribution level,” adds Mothepu.
“We are optimistic that we will one day have our own Upkasi, bakery, butchery, vegetable store and all this will benefit members and most importantly create employment, and members will leave a legacy behind for generations to come” he says.
Metsimaholo Executive Mayor, Lindiwe Tshongwe, and her team, including officials from the Free State Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development, attended the launch. – Report by Puisano Ditaba new reporter Lekhotla Koena