By Dirontsho Sebego
Matlakala Irene Matthews is the first female candidate to be appointed as the acting municipal manager for Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality. She was appointed as per council resolution in July 2017 to act as Municipal Manager for a period of three months.
Matthews, a gender activist and trade unionist has the relevant qualifications and work experience. She has obtained a master’s degree in international relations, Bachelor of Administration (hons) in Public Administration and Political studies from Turfloop University. She also has extensive experience on labour relations, conflict and dispute resolution matters.
Before her secondment to Ramotshere Moiloa, Matthews was working as Municipal Manager in the Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality and also worked as the Director of Corporate services in Matlosana and Tlokwe municipalities respectively.
As expected, Matthews is appointed with full delegated powers i.e. she will be responsible for general managerial duties of the institution, Ensuring sound management of Council Budget, render advisory services to Council and its committees, ensure that the municipality complies with all applicable legislations, IDP review, budgeting process, Community participation, ensure that Council implement LED projects aimed at empowering local people and creating job opportunities.
Matlakala had a brief engagement with senior and middle management upon resuming her duties and she indicated that she is looking forward to working together with all officials. “I hope that we are going to learn from each other. You are familiar with the environment and I cannot just come and change things. My interest will be to assist on issues relating to compliance and legislations. I operate on an open door policy but please do not take advantage. Let’s stick to issues relating to taking this municipality forward”, she said during the introductory meeting.
She will continue to engage with the rest of the staff member through one on one session.
WHAT IS URBAN FAMILY MARKET
This is an entrepreneurial hub which offers small businesses an opportunity to showcase and sell their products. The first Urban Family Market which is planned to take place monthly, was officially launched on 29 July. “We have noticed that we actually have a lot of talent around Mafikeng. This is a way for us to try and get everyone in one space to showcase their talent”, explained Mokgabo Pule, the organiser and founder of the market. The market which took place at Mmabana Picnic Park hosted a total of 28 vendors. Pule says that her target is to host 50 vendors for each market as the park is big enough. Moreover, she asserts that “For me it is not only about the vendors displaying their products. I am aiming to create a network of small businesses”. Pule further emphasized that the network is meant to enhance communication between small businesses.
WHAT THE MARKET OFFERS
It offers a family set up which caters for every member of the family. One can expect food vendors, adult and child beverages, farmer`s corner, fashion and accessories corner and also a kiddies corner, amongst other things. Basically, people can expect to have an interesting outdoor and shopping experience while enjoying their meals, cocktails and music. “People are sitting under trees with skills because there are not affordable platforms for them to do something like this. This market is offering an ordinary person next door, to come and give us what they can offer”, emphasized the zealous Pule.
MOTIVATION BEHIND THE MARKET
Pule who describes herself as a perfect balance between being an introvert and an extrovert, a people`s person who loves outdoors, is an owner of multiple small businesses. She is currently having a nine to five job where she works as a financial manager for an engineering company based in Johannesburg. During the weekends she diverts her attention to her financial company, farming business, and now the market. In her response to how she manages she said “I think it is more about discipline. For a person to learn to divide their time they need to be much disciplined”. “I am not drowning yet but I do realise that there is going to be time when I need help with all of this”, she added.
Pule points out that she has previously been a part of markets around Johannesburg and other towns. However, here at home Pule did not have a fixed spot where she can be located and exhibit her products. “I figured it out that I need to come and start this for people who have the same issue as me. There are people who have a lot of talent but nobody exposes them”, says Pule.
Mrs Nomhle Winny Leshomo is the current CEO and founder of the two businesses which specialise in cleaning, laundry and soap manufacturing. Leshomo describes herself as a born entrepreneur and remembers clearly buying herself a pair of school shoes from the profits she made after selling a packet of sweets back in primary school. Her first business MNPKR started with a few ladies whom she had trained. They would go to houses and clean, until her friend advised her to add laundry services as well. She has never looked back ever since.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BUSINESS
MNPKR Cleaning& Laundry Services was founded in 2009. The other company, Speedchem Manufacture PTY Ltd started operating in 2013 and was registered in 2015. Speedchem manufactures powder soap, both low and high foam, industrial and domestic powder soaps. The company also produces cleaning chemicals such as thick bleach, bath foam, ammonia cleaner, dishwashing liquid and pine gel. Speedchem also recently introduced a small unit where they produce 100% natural products, such as glycerine soap, goat milk and caramel soap, African Black soap, body butter and African Black shampoo. MNPKR is an acronym which was formed from the first letters of Leshomo`s family names, husband and three children.
WHAT MAKES THE BUSINESS UNIQUE
Leshomo argues that they do their laundry in a unique way, not like any other. “We wash your clothes separately. We do not mix clothes even of the same colour”. “For example, my white shirt might not be the same as her white shirt, so it might contaminate”, says Leshomo. The energetic Leshomo further expresses that she has trained her employees that when they get to a house for a cleaning service they should start with the door frames, then electric plugs. “This is because these are the things which people do not focus on. Once you do it right, people will see the difference”, says Leshomo.
In expressing the secret behind her excellent service, Leshomo points out that “I love what I do and every time I do something for anyone, I do it as if I am doing it for myself”, says Leshomo. The enthusiastic Leshomo finds encouragement from making contribution to humanity. She points out that the fact that there are people working for the business is an achievement for her. “We start businesses for money but the main thing is to see other people benefiting from what we are doing”. “That is one of the things that give me much joy than money”, she adds.
ADVICE TO OTHER ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS
Leshomo motivates that perseverance, hard work and self-belief are the ingredients of every successful entrepreneur. She further asserts that for one to be successful he/she has to let go of fear of the unknown. “Start something that you love. Don’t try and copy someone else`s idea. Someone else`s idea will never be your own idea”, she cautions. “Even if people can steal what you come up with, they will never do it like you. Talk to anyone about anything because you will find help where you did not expect it”, she adds.