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South African suppliers gain new ally

Small suppliers looking to establish business relationships with Massmart following Walmart’s acquisition of a controlling stake in the company would be well served to learn the correct pronunciation of Mncane Mthunzi.

Mthunzi will fill a new supplier development role at Massmart and comes to the retailer from an organization known as the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa where he served as CEO and Massmart CEO Grant Pattison serves as chairman.

The supplier development program is initially focused on working with 1,500 small food suppliers, an initiative that was proposed during the merger process as Walmart sought to soothe fears of South Africa’s Competition Tribunal and the impact the company’s arrival would have on the nation’s supplier community. The program is similar to efforts elsewhere in places like China, India and Latin America where Walmart essentially mentors smaller suppliers in the ways of conducting business with a larger retailer.

“We are delighted that someone of Mncane Mthunzi’s stature has agreed to take on this exciting challenge. Mncane’s key focus will be on the development of local manufacturers, emerging farmers and SME suppliers to the group and he will have R100 million fund to facilitate achievement of this mandate,” said Pattison. “During his time at the CGCSA, he has developed good insights into some of the challenges that emerging (fast moving consumer goods) suppliers experience in accessing retail markets, making him a good choice for this supplier development role.”

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