South Africa-Business-Death

S/Africa: Ramaphosa pays homage to late businessman

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Richard Maponya as South Africans on Monday mourned the demise of the pioneering black business leader.

Maponya, the first black businessman to build a shopping mall in South Africa’s Soweto neighbourhood, died aged 99 in the early hours of Monday, a family member said.

“We have lost a pioneer, a trailblazer and a man of extraordinary fortitude who paved the way for the racial transformation of the South African economy,” the president said as quoted by the presidency.

“Dr Maponya’s life is a testament to resilience, determination and the power of vision -- namely to see black business grow to assume its full role as the key participant and driver of our economy,” he said.

Maponya’s business career spanned over 50 years. He began in the retail sector in the 1950s when he and his wife Marina opened a milk distribution company in Soweto, the presidency said.

Over the years, their business empire included interests in retail, automotive, filling stations and property development, it added.

“He was of that rare breed of entrepreneurs who would not be held back or become disheartened by difficult operating conditions. In fact, having obstacles put in his path drove him even further to succeed.

“Dr Maponya embodied sustainability and corporate social responsibility and investment well before these concepts were academically defined. He was a patriot who believed in the power of building businesses that build communities,” Ramaphosa said.

Maponya was a founding member of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and as well as a chairman of the African Chamber of Commerce.

NM/jn/APA

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