NEF boss defends boutique funding
National Empowerment Fund CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa has defended the decision to fund a high-end Johannesburg boutique, saying the retail sector needed transformation.
"The past four days has seen transformation put on trial, perhaps because some people do not see the need for women empowerment, perhaps because some do not see the need for transformation in the retail sector," Mthethwa was quoted as saying.
She was reportedly speaking at a Black Business Council (BBC) conference in Midrand.
She said the people who supported the retail sector in South Africa were black, yet the sector remained white, and more black people needed to participate on the business side.
"I look forward to the day when the work of black people will be greeted with trust and appreciation, and not with instinctive suspicion of wrongdoing and impropriety that has come to characterise reaction to endeavours by black people."
The NEF approved R34.1 million in financing to Ndalo Luxury Ventures (NLV) to establish the Luminance boutique, which sells luxury clothing and related goods, in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.
The boutique is run by media businesswoman Khanyi Dhlomo, her mother Venetia, and businesswoman Judy Dlamini.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said he had asked for a detailed report from the NEF on the funding of NLV.