Church and small, medium and micro enterprises in rural Tswaing in the North West Province.
This thesis is a search for the relationship between the church and SMMEs in the Tswaing Municipality, in the North West Province. It concerns the role of the church in supporting SMMEs in such a way that they benefit the whole community instead of individuals, thus contributing towards the building of the economy in selected areas of rural Tswaing. The selected areas are Khunwana, Atamelang, Manamolela and Gannalaagte/Vrischgewaagd. It is written in the context of the church that has come to understand that ministry to the poor is never complete without dealing with wealth creation, and in recognition of the fact that the church can offer alternative economic values. Small business development and support in rural communities is seen to be a key factor in the building of the community economy. It is argued that rural economies have generally collapsed due to various factors. First the apartheid policies which displaced communities from areas where agricultural ventures were thriving to areas that were not suitable for subsistence farming. Second was rural urban migration which caused some Tswaing community members to go to cities to find work, leaving behind elderly people and youth who could no longer or were not willing to live off the land. Whilst in the cities such migrants were marginalized and remained jobless. Research findings indicate that the Tswaing community have assets and entitlements that could be harnessed by the church and other stakeholders like Government and big business, using Kretzmann and McKnight’s approach to community development; that of building the community from the inside out to enhance the economy. Four areas of involvement have been identified for the church (i) engaging the three tiers of government by advocacy for small businesses and ensuring implementation of policy; (ii) promotion of development and support for SMMEs and (iii) that the church sets up its own development project.
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