Rangata beats the odds to win top business award

Being raised by a single parent who struggled to put food on the table inspired a Limpopo-born businessman to become a beacon of hope for his family.

Today Ramtete Rangata is an award-winning entrepreneur who has won plaudits from government for his work.

Rangata, who owns Ramcol Construction and Projects, says his mother was forced to keep the family together when his father died in 2001.

"My father was sick for a long time with lung cancer. He died in 2001. My mother had to look after me and my three siblings. Sometimes it was difficult for her to buy a simple thing like bread. Life was tough then," said Rangata.

These hardships shaped the person he has since become, he said. "We struggled and because of that, I knew I had to focus on the important things. Luckily I grew up in church and that helped because sometimes they would give me lunch money and help my family," Rangata said.

At times his mother turned to loan sharks to pay for their tertiary education.

"My mother battled to take us to school. In order to pay for our registration fees and other expenses, she would borrow money from loan sharks. She wanted us to get our qualifications so we could do whatever we wanted afterwards."

Rangata said he can manage the finances of his business well because he is used to administering projects.

"It's not always the contractor's fault that some projects fail. Failure can also be the client's fault. Some service providers tend to fail to execute their tasks mainly because of delays in payments, which can bring a company to its knees.

"A lack of proper planning, discipline, passion and dedication can also affect your business," said Rangata.

He got tired of the nine-to-five grind when he was a government intern and quit. He then registered his business in 2010, with an overdraft facility of R300000, which only covered operational costs.

But it was not enough and he got help from a supplier in Polokwane, Dada's World of Hardware.

His first project was to build 110 four-roomed houses in the Blouberg local municipality.

Rangata was among business people in the construction sector who were honoured by Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at the annual Govan Mbeki Awards last week. He won the emerging youth contractor award.

The ceremony also included two lifetime achievement awards that were handed to anti-apartheid activist and the last living leader of the 1956 women's march, Sophia de Bruyn, and the late treason trialist Ahmed Kathrada.