DTIC seeks to breathe life into township economy

The department of Trade, Industry and Competition has set its sights on turning around the face of township economies.

The township economy came under the spotlight when the department this week hosted a dialogue under the theme: mapping township economy for opportunities through spatial industrial development.

The dialogue zoomed in on reviewing current township industrial initiatives and support mechanisms, including the district development model, special economic zones and industrial parks.

Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Fikile Majola said South Africa’s townships still experience poor investment, overpopulation, poor infrastructure, high unemployment  levels, deepening poverty and isolation from mainstream economic centres.

“It is against this background that the mapping of the township economy becomes essential, with a particular aim to identify industrial and related economic opportunities that can be supported by the DTIC, its entities and strategic partners. It is therefore important for the government to apply the district development model approach to identify existing or potential economic or industrial opportunities for support following a comprehensive mapping exercise.”

He added that the key objectives for mapping township economies and identifying opportunities for support include consideration of the characteristics of a typical township economy, establishment of support mechanisms for the township economy, identification of challenges inhibiting or hampering economic developments and the establishment of key industrial and related economic opportunities for support in all the 44 district municipalities and eight metros.

Majola pointed to initiatives of the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provincial governments aimed at developing the township economy through the Township Economic Bill and Township and Rural Economy Revitalisation Strategy, respectively, as blueprints that can be replicated across other provinces.

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