Zimbabwe Digital News
Top Zimbabwean entrepreneur Brighton Songore has urged Zimbabweans living in the diaspora to not only take charge of their destiny, but claim a bigger role in influencing the economic development of their mother country.
Songore was speaking at the Proudly263Global Trade Fair and Expo in Randburg this week, the second such event by the peer-to-peer business incubation and events management organisation – following the successful launch in Kempton Park in May.
Songore told the gathering – which attracted top South African and Zimbabwean businesses – that many people tended to complicate the process of seeking capital to finance their business ventures – and many others who were lucky to raise the capital, tended to misuse the money to buy luxury vehicles.
“In my years in the construction industry, I have found that if my neighbour owns a bakkie, it is easier to invite him or her to the construction sites (for work), because the bakkie will always be needed there.
“But if you buy your luxury BMW or top of the range SUV, which does not have a carrier, will that car be able to carry cement or steel?
“That is the p[roblem with some of my brothers. We want to live a life of luxury when we do not have the financial capacity to sustain our livelihoods, or the plan to generate more income,” said Songore.
The businessman, who runs a successful construction company, told the gathering that he had not had an easy ride in entrepreneurship, as he had to endure frustrations in the industry which is dominated by cartels and shady partnerships.
But today he has been involved in countless highrise buildings throughout Gauteng and other provinces, employs dozens of workers and had played a huge role in changing the landscapes in many communities.
He has already diversified into security and transport businesses, and with his wife Mrs P Songore, they had established a fourth level of the business which had diversified into Tritabren Industries which focuses on chemicals, detergents and cleaning equipment.
Meanwhile banking giant FNB has pulled out all stops to assure Zimbabweans whose Non-Resident accounts were frozen in the past months, that the bank does not keep money which does not belong to it.
FNB was a big talking point among Zimbabwe Digital News readers, and Proudly263Global communities in the run-up to the Randburg event this week, as emotions ran high after the bank froze some accounts, and sent letters demanding to know where the clients were getting their money from.
The move caused a huge uproar as an increasing number of Zimbabweans had reportedly arrived at the bank with asylum papers, and opened accounts at FNB – only for the bank to freeze the accounts pending verification of source of funds.
And the question which many have been asking is – do banks have the right to know where clients get their money from?
FNB POP External Sales and Service Consultant Amanda Mazibuko told the gathering that the bank had no manda to hold onto anybody’s money, but where the bank suspected that the clients were working in SA without the necessary documents – the bank had no option but freeze the account and demand to see the proof of income.
“Make no mistake FNB does not wish to keep your money. Remember if a South African went to Zimbabwe, there are restrictions and regulations that I have to abide by, and the same applies in this country for foreign nationals, and not only for Zimbabweans.
“We have seen an increase in the people that came to open the Non-Resident accounts, but remember that account can only take a once-off rand deposit. After that you need to deposit foreign currency in it.
“Once the bank detects that there are regular payments in rands into that account, the bank has a right to request a proof of income as that account is being used for what it eas not meant for,” Mazibuko said.
She said that Zimbabwe was a huge growth area for the bank, and the institution is looking a ways to simplify banking for the estimated three million Zimbabweans who are living in South Africa, as banking needs for different communities kept changing according to changing migrations patterns.
Proudly263Global CEO Stan Makwara said that holding the Randburg event was a game-changer for the organisation as Randburg was a strategic region for the Greater Johannesburg hinterland.
“We started this journey slowly but if you look at the people that have come here this week you will agree that our empowerment programmes are unique, they are fresh on the market and we understand African business men and women better than anybody else.”
“It does not matter whether you are already in business, or you are only thinking of starting a new business and remember that this is not for Zimbabweans alone, but for all Africans. That is why we are invoking the spirit of Hello Sahwira/Mhlobo, and through thins we aim to build better economies for everyone.
“Come next week (July 20) we are at Benoni Methodist Church so if you count Kempton Park, Randburg, and then Benoni, you will realise that this is a big train that we are riding on, and we urge everyone who has got something to offer – service providers, new business, CCs, SMEs and large corporations to come on board,” said Makwara.
Organisations that participated this week inclided Zororo Phumulani, Songs Construction, Zero Limits Accounting, Old Mutual, African rubies, JM Busha Investments, FNB, Khelani Cakes, Lake Harvest, Norland, EstLife, MM Chemicals, Tritabren Chemicals, Hillcrest College and Sharon Groceries.
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