The community of Thokoza this morning welcomed the opening of Matlala Market.

Excitement was high as it was announced the upgraded store, previously known as Matlala Multimarket Store, will now offer customers greater variety, a fresh offering and money services under one roof, and on their doorstep.

Previously a juice supplier to Matlala Multimarket Store, Sylvester Lehlohonolo Motubane (46) today rents the building from previous store owner, Ntate Matlala.

Motubane, along with his partner and co-owner, Masecaba Malehlohonolo Sibanyoni (32), are the latest entrepreneurs to take part in Pick n Pay’s Market Store Partnership with Independent Traders. Through the programme and its partners, local stores are upgrade with cutting-edge systems and retailing techniques to create a unique township shopping experience.

What makes the programme unique is that all store owners remain 100% independent.

Launched in Gauteng in 2016, this will be the first market store in the programme to open in Thokoza. Two other stores have opened in Ekurhuleni, Mario’s Market and Stallion Market in 2017.

With over 15 years of entrepreneurial experience collectively, the driven new owners each possess unique and complementary skills to make Matlala Market a success.

Born and raised in Thokoza, Motubane has an eye for opportunities. While completing his diploma in Durban, he founded and sold his first business, Ubuhle Cleaning Services. Returning to Johannesburg, he started supplying juice to townships across Gauteng. Noticing the saturation of the market he pursued an opportunity to join the corporate world. But it wasn’t long before the entrepreneurial itch returned, and he joined his father’s family trucking business while simultaneously formalising and expanding his sisters event management company.

Sibanyoni was raised by her mother in Kwa-Thema, Springs, who owned a tuck shop and would sell fruit and vegetables to put food on the table. After obtaining a certificate in Financial Management, she followed in her mother’s footsteps and opened Naledi Buy and Braai, a shisha nyama in Thokoza which is still operational today.

The Pick n Pay programme soon caught their attention and within a couple of months, Matlala Market became a reality.

The building previously home to Matlala Multimarket Store was upgraded and fitted with new refrigeration and IT systems, allowing the store to stock 1 300 lines of edible and non-edible groceries, fresh produce and perishables.

“We are excited with the renovations. With the new equipment and set up of the butchery, deli and bakery, it has given the building a new life,” says Sibanyoni.

Customers will also have access to services like money transfer, ticketing, airtime and data, bill payments, lottery tickets and prepaid electricity.

The programme also brings new job opportunities to the area. She says that the store currently employees 18 people but that they intend to employ a further 10 employees in the near future.

“It is great to see government and business working together in realising the dreams of previously marginalised communities. It shows that when government, the policy formulator, partner with private sector the policy becomes realised to the benefit of the masses. A revitalized township economy becomes a reality through Pick n Pay’s Market Store Partnership with Independent Traders programme,” says Sibanyoni.

Eldene Govender, Investment Principal for the National Empowerment Fund’s iMbewu Fund – a partner in the programme who has approved funding for six stores to date – says that this is an important initiative that will revitalise the township economy and ensure that small businesses in townships remain competitive and sustainable in the long term. “Partnering with a strong retail brand, such as Pick n Pay which has extensive distribution networks countrywide and years of retail expertise, will ensure that these township businesses receive all the support required to operate their own successful businesses. We look forward to further unlocking township potential and transforming the township landscape through the programme.”

To date, the programme has opened 21 stores and stores are performing well. “We believe the success of the programme lies in helping independent entrepreneurs stay independent, but even more successful with a range of trading and financial assistance,” says Pick n Pay deputy CEO, Richard van Rensburg.

What is next for the power couple? Sibanyoni says that while they would love to open more stores soon, they will be concentrating all their effort on making this store a success for their community.


Issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Pick n Pay 


About the Pick n Pay Market Store Partnership with Independent Traders programme – stores opened to date & its partners

  • Store opened to date: 21
  • The programme was piloted in 2016 in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Economic Development. In Gauteng, six stores opened in 2016 and seven stores opened in 2017. Four stores have opened in 2018, and one store in 2019. This brings the number of stores opened to date in Gauteng to 18.
  • Three stores have opened in the Western Cape and are a collaborative effort between Pick n Pay, the Old Mutual Foundation, Masisizane Fund, National Empowerment Fund, Brimstone, the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and the City of Cape Town.
  • Pick n Pay and its partners in the programme upgrade spaza stores to meet the needs of customers and communities, helping to grow a new generation of modern retail entrepreneurs (all store owners remain independent), and boost economic revitalisation in townships.
  • The store owners remain fully independent and can source products other than those offered by Pick n Pay. Pick n Pay sets minimum standards of operation, range, and pricing to ensure the model is successful.
  • Extensive mentorship is provided by Pick n Pay, as well as training which comprises both in-store and classroom training. This includes store systems and point of sale (including banking and cash management), finance management, customer service and entrepreneurial development. The shop’s staff also receive training which advances their skills.
  • The success of the programme lies in helping independent entrepreneurs stay independent, but even more successful with a range of trading and financial assistance.