The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has called for the establishment of a state-owned bank in memory of legendary entrepreneur Richard Maponya.
Maponya passed away in the early hours of Monday after a short illness, his family announced. He was aged 99.
In a statement EFF said such a bank would “prioritise investment in young African entrepreneurs,” something Maponya was known to be passionate about.
‘A bank that believes in African entrepreneurs’
EFF said, “In his memory, the government must establish a state-owned bank that will prioritise investment in young African entrepreneurs.
“To truly honour Maponya is to believe that African people can be enterprising, innovative and creative; that there are many like him in our country and continent, but lack the financial investment and support for their businesses.
“This is truly the key solution to dealing with the massive African unemployment – a bank that believes in them.”
The party also took a dig at the African National Congress (ANC) government, accusing it of “inaugurating” kleptocracy that is the opposite of Maponya’s integrity.
‘Businessman of integrity’
EFF said, “Long before South Africa had a black government, he was already a brilliant property developer.
“This makes him not only formidable, but also a businessman of integrity, something the conditions of kleptocracy inaugurated by the ANC government make impossible.”
Despite training as a teacher, Maponya ventured into entrepreneurship and started off with a number of grocery stores in Soweto in the 1950s.
He founded the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NAFCOC) in 1964 to promote the interests of black businesses at the height of apartheid.
Over a span of 50 years, his business empire expanded beyond retail into property development. The iconic Maponya Mall in Soweto is often touted as his signature entrepreneurial achievement.
The late entrepreneur’s family appealed for privacy during this period and said funeral arrangements will be revealed in due course.