Veteran businessman and founding chairperson of the African Bank Dr Sam Motsuenyane has described the late businessman Dr Richard Maponya as a champion of black economic development.

Maponya died after a short illness in Johannesburg on Monday morning at the age of 99.

Motsuenyane says he held his last meeting with Maponya two weeks ago. He says Maponya expressed his desire to grow his chicken farm.

Motsuenyane says the two also discussed their wish to return control of the bank to the black community.

“We have had many meetings with Dr Maponya and as late as two weeks ago, we had a meeting and there we discussed the future of the African Bank being developed back into the hands of the black community. That discussion was still continuing and that’s where we ended. I am very sorry that a great friend of mine has passed on. I had not believed that he would have gone this early.”

Watch the video below for more on the story:

Another businessman and founder of Pamodzi Group, Ndaba Ntsele says he received great support from the late businessman.

Ntsele says Maponya deeply cared about emerging businesses.

“One thing that I will remember with Dr Maponya is when I was going through big problems with one of my companies Pamodzi Gold, Dr Maponya told Chichi that, ‘We cannot let Ndaba deal with this battle alone. Tell him to come to me. I shall organise funding to save his company.’ That’s typical Ntate Maponya for his home children in Soweto.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says the death of Maponya is a great loss to all South Africans. In a statement, the DA says Maponya was a pioneer in the business community.

The party says his visionary leadership and business acumen saw him rise from a small business owner under difficult circumstances during the apartheid era to the mogul that he was until his death.

Maponya was affectionately called the grandfather of black business.

Other South Africans are using social media to send their tributes: