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Trade and Industry

A vital aspect of any economic system is the country’s ability to manufacture and market modern consumer goods and the growing economy of Bophuthatswana was no exception.

The incentives and efforts of various corporations promoting the state worldwide drew many companies with diverse products.

Industries ranged from vehicle manufacturers producing components for their South African-based production lines, to ceramic plants and sophisticated laboratories.

Apart from providing valuable employment for the country’s workforce, these viable industrial sectors replaced imports and promoted export income. Government also created a tax base from which it could draw its revenue in order to finance its services to the nation.

In addition to this, the Bophuthatswana government offered handsome incentives to attract investors to the country.

The stable political atmosphere, an almost inexhaustible supply of labour and raw materials, and excellent infrastructure and markets on Bophutshatswana’s doorstep, lured investors from afar.

Eight designated industrial development areas existed in the country where the majority of industries were involved in clothing and textile manufacturing, as well as furniture production. The rest were all connected to engineering, assembling, moulding and printing.

Government’s new incentive package for small manufacturers, which came into effect during 1985, acted as a catalyst for further industrial growth throughout Bophuthatswana.

The Department of Manpower played a key role in helping the country’s population realise their full potential as skilled workers.

A wide range of courses was offered including trade, technical, administration, commercial, craft and catering tuition.

A cash grant system existed for companies which undertook private training schemes which were approved by the registrar of training.

The commerce branch of the Department of Economic Affairs promoted trade, established new concerns, and created an appropriate environment for participation.

Some of this Department’s highlights included:

  • The opening of shopping centres at Kudube in the Moretele district, at Lehurutse, Thaba’ Nchu, Mogwase, Mothibistad, Phokeng, Thlabane and Mabopane;
  • The reconstruction of the Mmabatho shopping centre;
  • The opening of Bophuthatswana House in London;
  • The R6 million Molopo alluvial diamond diggings; and
  • The opening of smaller shopping centres at Pudimoe and Pampierstad.

Many industrialists believe a vital factor contributing to a country’s economic success is the government’s official attitude encouraging free enterprise, and the spirit of free enterprise was also an important concept in Bophuthatswana. Hence a council for Consumer Affairs was established to ensure that it continued and fostered economic development.

This council circumvented unfair trade practices and educated both buyers and suppliers in sound consumer behaviour.

The Yabeng Investment Company, which was launched in June 1983 by Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope, was a vehicle whereby the public could purchase shares in Bophuthatswana’s best known commercial companies.

With this investment opportunity the needs of small, and often first time, investors were met by government.

With the formation of Sun International (Bophuthatswana) 1979 (Sun Bop) several important developments had been completed within 10 years.

The major project was Sun City which was opened in 1979 with the hotel and Gary Player golf course. In 1984 the Cascades hotel was completed and in 1985 the crocodile farm and monorail were opened.

In addition to this complex, Sun Bop built:

  • The Mmabatho Sun hotel;
  • The Thaba ‘Nchu Sun hotel;
  • The Molopo Sun hotel;
  • The Tlhabane Sun hotel;
  • The Morula Sun hotel; and
  • The Carousel hotel.

    Mining also played a major role in the economic development of Bophuthatswana and by March 1976 no fewer than 34 mines – including five platinum mines employing more than 53 000 people – were being worked.

  • The Bophuthatswana Chamber of Industries and Mining was established in 1979. Its objectives were:

    • To safeguard the interests and promote the welfare of industry and mines – both large and small;
    • To strengthen the economic climate for industry and mines, and to promote a sound economic policy through which industry and mines can prosper and grow; and
    • To promote sound industrial relations and regularly liaise with relevant authorities to influence legislation for the benefit of both employers and employees.

    More than 65 000 people were placed in jobs in the country while the contract of employment for more than 174 000 people were attested for work outside Bophuthatswana.

    The apprenticeship division of this Department:

    • Ensured that as many people as possible were indentured as apprentices in the various trades;
    • Ensured that these apprentices received full training as prescribed by legislation; and
    • Enabled people – other than apprentices – who worked for five years or more in a particular trade to undergo a trade test.


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