Hi Phakamani Friends,
In April we celebrated Freedom Day. Freedom Day is the commemoration of the first non-racial democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. While we celebrated our 28-year-old democracy, underpinned by a Constitution that has been described as “a masterpiece of post conflict constitutional engineering”, we are also reminded that the levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality have earned South Africa infamy as the most unequal society in the world. Against this background, we are grateful for the opportunity that Phakamani provides to rural women to assuage some of these socioeconomic hardships. We continue to pray for success in the businesses of the clients that we serve.
In the previous newsletter we noted that many trends have been skewed by the covid pandemic and outcomes remain counterintuitive. The unrest in parts of the country last year, and the recent devastating flooding in KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape have added strain to an economy already damaged by state capture, corruption and the covid pandemic. Despite these challenging circumstances, our clients remain resilient and positive. There is however a decline in the rate of new development and growth which appears to be sector wide. We are actively looking to identify the reasons behind the slowdown and find ways to accelerate recruitment of new clients.
A group of wonderful people from the US, previously unable to visit due to covid, visited in early April. It was awesome to be able to spend time with the group and interact with our clients again. Through a group like this, we see our clients and operations through “new eyes”, identify areas for celebration, and open opportunities for improvement.
We opened three more new branches in the Eastern Cape in April 2022, taking us to 51 branches nationally, and are in the planning and recruiting phase for an additional four branches to be opened in July / August this year.
User acceptance testing on the digitisation and process automation project is almost complete and we expect to pilot in at least one branch before the end of the financial year. We pray that this goes well as it will have a significant impact on the organisation and how we serve our clients.
We have again experienced extraordinary generosity from donors in the United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa. The Phakamani Trust remains a material and stable provider of distributions to the Foundation. It is difficult to adequately express our gratitude to the friends and partners that faithfully contribute to the work we do. We are grateful to God for His faithful provision.