Durban: Sindisiwe Gumede (36) worked in a printing factory for seven long years. There, she felt that her time and skills were wasted. This propelled her to quit her job and open her own property business, Siyeza Magums CC.
As a single mother to a 14-year-old daughter, Londeka, Gumede never had it easy. Her life was blighted from the start. She hails from Mpumalanga township, 47 kilometres west of Durban. The area was rocked by political violence in the late 1980s; this unfortunately led to the separation of her parents.
“I was raised by a single mother,” she tells SAnews. The political violence prevented Gumede from living a normal life and made it difficult for her to pursue higher education after completing matric under trying circumstances.
Gumede launched her company, Siyeza Magums CC, in January 2009 and it already provides employment to eight permanent staff plus 10 part-time staff members. It specialises in property (sales and letting), building and construction, renovations, cleaning and gardening.
All it took to get the company off the ground was sheer guts, determination and a R12 000 contribution by the four founding owners.
“I knocked on every door after registering the company and I think it is slowly paying off,” she says. The company is 100 percent black women owned and managed.
The company sells properties in previously disadvantaged areas across KwaZulu-Natal, and lets properties mostly in the Durban Central Business District. They also help their clients obtain finance through their partnership with the bond company, Better Bond.
Siyeza Magums was this week nominated for the eThekwini Metro Municipality Women in Business Awards in the category of Micro/Emerging Company. The awards are an initiative of the eThekwini Metro Municipality’s Business Support, Tourism and Markets Unit.
Gumede says while it has not been easy, she and her partners “have learned the ropes”. They’ve received extensive training from the City of Durban.
Gumede has acquired the following skills/courses: bricklaying, basic computer, project management, pricing and costing, real estate, productivity and financial management, amongst others.
Government institutions that have also boosted Gumede’s skills and knowledge include the eThekwini Metro Municipality, National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).
She has also benefited from private sector-backed training provided by the likes of Old Mutual, Corobrick, Productivity SA, eThekwini College, ABSA and Entrepreneurs 4 Africa by the Robin Hood Foundation. She also did a six-month course with the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Business Management.
Gumede says the company has property stock to the value of R1.5 million. “Our turnover in 2012 was R250 000.”
She says although the property market is depressed at the moment, her company is in the black and she “started drawing a salary from the company for the first time this month”.
Gumede’s tenacity has paid off. In 2010, she was awarded a Building Excellence Award by the Corobrick Training Centre Business Support. In 2011, she was awarded a certificate by ABSA Enterprise Growth Programme.
“Our long-term plan is to be property developers,” she says.