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Statistics of SMMEs indicate that many do not develop in proportion to their potential and SMMEs ought to recognize challenges upfront that might hamper their development. This study investigated the challenges SMMEs in Mahikeng encounter in an endeavor to enable SMMEs and support providers to be knowledgeable to preempt potential situations with appropriate action in the form of strategies and tactics. A cross-sectional mono-method quantitative survey with a questionnaire was undertaken and included 421 SMMEs located in Mahikeng. The main finding of this study is that various classes of SMMEs face similar challenges (mainly training and access to finances) and this finding, in all likelihood, will enable SMMEs and their support providers to devise ways to deal with these challenges. Above all, the findings provide SMMEs with knowledge and it is recommended that SMMEs and support providers plan wisely and to avoid hampering challenges in their development.
Mahikeng is the headquarters of the Barolong Boo Ratshidi people. The town was founded by Molema Tawana (c. 1822 – January 1882). Born in Khunwana during the difaqane period, Molema was the son of Kgosi Tawana of the Tshidi Barolong. Molema’s brother and close confidant, Montshiwa, later became chief. During the period that the Tshidi Barolong resided at Thaba Nchu, where they found refuge during the difaqane, Molema was converted to Christianity by the Wesleyan missionaries based there. Molema’s son and heir, Silas Molema, was educated at Healdtown College. (Silas helped his nephew Sebopioa Molema get to the United States about 1904 to study law at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio.)
In 1857 Molema led an advance guard to scout out the area along the Molopo River. This was a familiar area as they had previously lived in nearby Khunwana. Molema settled at Mahikeng (known in its early years as “Molema’s town”), while the main body of the Barolong under Montshiwa followed. But Montshiwa did not feel safe at Mahikeng due to the close presence and encroachment of the Boers in the Transvaal. He led his followers to Moshaneng in the territory of the Bangwaketse in present-day Botswana.
The name Mahikeng means “the place of rocks” in the classic Setswana language of the people of the North West province of South Africa and the surrounding country of Botswana. However, the city is commonly pronounced as Mafikeng, in the vernacular of the Batswana people of Mmabatho. Historically it was also known as Mafeking, and is still referred to as such historiographically in the context of the Siege of Mafeking and Relief of Mafeking during the Boer War.
In February 2010, Lulu Xingwana, the Minister of Arts and Culture, approved the town’s name to be changed again to Mahikeng. Despite this the town’s ANC-run local government and most local residents still refer to the town as Mafikeng both informally and formally.
Mahikeng grew relatively quickly in the late 1990s, but the Gross Value Added (GVA)
growth steadily decreased from 3,7% (1996–2001) to 2,3% (2001–2011), and was
around 0,7% during the period 2011 to 2015. This is in line with the national growth
rate. Nonetheless, the GVA for the municipal area has grown (Table 3) and its financial
contribution to the national GVA was similar to other intermediate cities (with the
exception of Rustenburg which far outperforms the other cities) (Turok and BorelSaladin, 2013:17).
The economy of the North West Province is dominated by mining, contributing 32.5% to the provincial economy in 2018, followed by manufacturing at 5.1%, agriculture at 2.8%, and construction at 2.5%.
The North West contributed 23.9% of national mining and 6.9% to national agriculture, but only 2.3% to manufacturing and 3.8% to construction.
The graph above indicates the nine main sector contributions to the economy of the North West as compared to South Africa.