YAMKELA KOTI and SUE MACLENNAN
An icy wind was blowing outside during an official hand-over of stock and SMME funding to Tyson Tyre Service in Grahamstown/ Makhanda on Friday 29 June – so when owner Tyson Dyakala spoke afterwards about wanting to provide a comfortable place for hungry people to sit and eat soup and bread, it wasn’t hard to understand why.
Officials from the district and local municipalities gathered at the busy premises to hand over 90 tyres, and formally acknowledge a R10 00 capital injection for the thriving business in Raglan Road. The stock and the capital came from Sarah Baartman District Municipality through the work of Makana Municipality’s Local Economic Directorate.
Duma Magxwalisa, Project Manager for LED in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality explained that while the funding is from budgets that they manage, Makana Municipality’s LED was key in unlocking it and directing it close to home.
“We respond to the IDP (integrated socio-economic development plan) objectives of the municipality,” said Magxwalisa. He clarified that businesses don’t apply directly to them for support, but through local government.
“We have received more than 30 applications for funding worth around R20 million – but we had only R2m to disburse,” said Magxwalisa. “That shows the huge demand. We are trying to respond with our limited resources.”
A way to make those limited resources go further, Magxwalisa explained, was to support entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurs are people who don’t wait for help to come to them,” he said. “They do something for themselves – and then we speed things up by nurturing and supporting that.”
Tyson Tyre Services was consistent and could demonstrate a sound business plan, Magxwalisa said.
Supporting local SMMEs is core to Makana LED’s work, explained Director Riana Meiring.
“This kind of support for entrepreneurs translates to growth in the economy, lowering unemployment and lessening dependency among the community,” Meiring said.
It’s a policy that’s earned the praise of head of the Council’s LED Portfolio Committee Ernest Louw. “I think we need to acknowledge that in challenging times we remain positive in Makana,” he said. “With our limited resources, we do what we can. This is an example of our Local Economic Development department supporting the principle vukuzenzele – doing things for yourself and moving away from dependence.
Tyson and Gladys Dyakala have been running their business for 24 years. Before that, Tyson had gained 22 years’ experience in the tyre business as an employee at Oliver Tyres in Hill Street. “In 1994 I took my pension and went into this business fulltime.”
He soon made a name for himself. “Everyone knows me,” he laughed. “From the Port Alfred farmers to the Grahamstown taxi drivers – everyone! I like to help people from the community with what I’m best at.”
The boost to his stock and capital meant more to him and Gladys than he could put in words. But he tried:
“I am old and I have struggled for many years. Now, with this, I am inspired to lift business to a different level.”
What would really make their hearts sing, though, would be another donation: “Every day people come here to the shop and ask for something to eat,” Tyson said. “And we always give something. I will carry on buying bread and soup for people who need it.
“But it means they just have to sit outside and eat.”
Tyson and Gladys would like Grocott’s Mail to share with our readers their request for a container to put on a small piece of vacant land across the road from the shop.
“I would like to have a place where people can sit with their when it’s rainy or cold,” Tyson said.
“I would like them to have a place to sit that is comfortable when they eat, especially when it is cold and raining.”