The local business community bid farewell to the South African envoy, Mduduzile Lembede who is set to conclude his assignment end of this month. Lembede, a career diplomat, was appointed South African High Commissioner to Botswana in August 2013 and is now set to complete his four-year mandate and head back to South Africa and retire from service in December this year. The South African envoy says he has made his contribution in strengthening relations between the two countries and is proud of his achievements. He says his role was into bilateral, trilateral and multilateral and says he has done all to strengthen relations at all that levels. Speaking on behalf of the business community, Business Botswana president, Lekwalo Mosienyane said the South African High Commission worked closely with Business Botswana in addressing the challenges faced by the business community such as the impasse in issuance of trading licenses. Most businesses operating in Botswana are of South African origin and at some point this resulted in a standoff between government and such firms, with government demanding citizen shareholding in those companies before issuing trading licenses. Mosienyane described Lembede as a gentle giant who has done a lot for the business community and said he will remember him with his words when he called on the bureaucrats to leave the running of businesses to business people during the launch of the South African Business Forum. CEO of Choppies group, Ramachandran Ottapathu thanked Lembede for the support he gave them as they expanded into the South African market. He said the man gave a lot to the business community and all local businesses that expanded into that market, Lembede played a key role in assisting them. Choppies has in the past few years accelerated its expansion plans and made a number of acquisitions in South Africa last year.