Former South African finance minister Trevor Manuel focused on nation-building and what is required going forward at SPAR Eastern Cape’s annual general meeting in Port Elizabeth on November 15.
Manuel was the guest speaker at the conference held at the Boardwalk International Convention Centre.
He likened the modus operandi of the retailer to the best way forward for the country.
“The produce you sell needs to be fresh all the time, and the same goes for our democracy,” said Manuel.
“Part of what we have together is a responsibility as a generation to build a nation. All of us understand the issues of the transition from apartheid and the past is a different country.”
Manuel said South Africa’s democracy was being built at a time that was very different due to globalisation and a series of issues impacting people’s lives.
“We also need to understand that we must make rules and, sometimes in that process of discovery, it will take us to places where we’ve never been. In 1994, democracy was a place none of us had been to and we did not always understand what it was about.
“We then set about fashioning rules and before the elections, as well as for two years thereafter, those of us who were sent to parliament were sent to work on those rules which were taken together in our constitution.”
He added that people who knew about the country’s constitutional law would talk about the greatness of it and how it was written to try and bring everyone together and accommodate the differences that existed.
“We are all in this together,” said Manuel.
SPAR EC managing director Conrad Isaac said it was a good year to celebrate, especially with the region marking its 25th anniversary.
“When you look back you kind of get a lump in your throat, because there are times that are very special. We can be proud of what we’ve done.”
Isaac added that SPAR Eastern Cape had a great year in terms of growth and over 13 000 people were employed by it in the region.
He described the recipe for SPAR’s success.
“It’s how we do those things that set us apart from the rest. If you want to put it into two words, it’s ‘we care’.”
An example of this was the STOP Plastic campaign, which was launched in April, with former SA swimmer Sarah Ferguson who joined SPAR as an ambassador.
“Since the launch of the campaign we have sold three million fewer plastic bags,” said Isaac.
The three top performing stores for this campaign, which according to Isaac “did an outstanding job and went beyond the expectations”, were KWIKSPAR Colchester, SPAR Ugie and SUPERSPAR Newton Park.
Isaac said he looked forward to the next 25 years, with their aim being to inspire people “to do and be more”.
“It’s about giving our consumers healthy options. Healthy living is encouraging healthy lifestyles, and we’ll be doing that.
“A healthy environment is anything else around us, not just the plastic and taking care of the ocean. It’s also growing our emerging farmers and choosing local.”
The top award of the day, which was the SPAR retail award, was presented to Lalla Yerolemou of KWIKSPAR Spyros.
“Some of the best people in my life have come from this organisation and I’ve grown as a person and as a woman,” she said.
“I’m speechless and I just want to say thank you. It means a lot to my whole family.”
Other award winners:
• Most improved store: SUPERSPAR Protea
• Young achiever award: Dennis Ford (SUPERSPAR Spargs Beacon Bay)
• Retail training KWIKSPAR of the year: KWIKSPAR Colchester
• Retail training SPAR of the year: SPAR Ugie
• Retail training SUPERSPAR of the year: SUPERSPAR Nicks Foods King William’s Town
• E-learning store of the year: SUPERSPAR Highway
• Top performer Pyrex: SUPERSPAR Spargs Beacon Bay
• Most improved Rewards store: SPAR De Dekke
• Best performing Rewards store: SUPERSPAR Despatch
• Best performing store on SPAR brands: SPAR The Acres
• Best performing store Freshline: SUPERSPAR Waterfront
• Rise to the TOPS winners: TOPS at SPAR Ugie (3rd); TOPS at SPAR Newton Park (2nd); TOPS at SPAR Vincent & TOPS at SPAR Village Square (1st)
• Think retail award: George Nischak
• SPAR retail award: Lalla Yerolemou (KWIKSPAR Spyros)