The business community in South Africa has paid tribute to trailblazing businessman Richard Maponya following his passing on Monday.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) conveyed its condolences to the family of the prolific businessman whose career spanned over half a century.
The widely respected businessman passed away in Johannesburg just a few days after his 99th birthday.
In a statement the chamber saluted the business magnate for rising against the most difficult challenges and odds, to becoming a shining beacon of light for black business during the apartheid era.
Maponya said the SACCI, continued to make a massive contribution to the broader business community in post-apartheid South Africa.
It described Maponya not only as an activist, but a visionary and innovative leader in business and society in general.
“Dr Maponya was a first amongst equals. It is said that a thermometer measures the temperature, and a thermostat, creates the temperature. Dr Richard Maponya was a thermostat who lit up the business scene for decades with his infectious personality, diligence and brilliance,” said the chamber.
It said Maponya’s legacy will continue to inspire current and future generations of entrepreneurs.
Business Unity SA
Meanwhile Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), said Maponya’s passing represents a sad moment for the country.
“Dr Maponya distinguished himself as a successful businessman at a time when it was extremely difficult for black people to start a business, let alone excel in business. Dr Maponya started from humble beginnings during the apartheid period and fought against apartheid legislation to establish and grow his businesses.”
The non-profit company, representing cross-cutting organised business interests, said Maponya had played a sterling role in the community where he had lived all his life.
“He was a social entrepreneur well before the term was coined and ploughed back into his community as he became successful. He set an example for businesspeople and conducted his business ethically and morally,” said BUSA acting Chief Executive Officer Cas Coovadia.
Earlier in the day, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to the Maponya saying the country has lost a pioneer who played a role in the transformation of South Africa’s economy.
“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.”
“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,” said President Ramaphosa. –SAnews.gov.za