David Makhura, who is in his eight year as the premier of South Africa’s economic hub, Gauteng, has laid out a bullish plan to change the face of the province’s township economy and create an environment where SMMEs can thrive.
Between 2014 and 2019, Makhura’s administration provided extensive support to township businesses through a transformative public procurement policy that enabled the provincial government to spend more than R20-billion procuring goods and services from township-based enterprises.
However, the provincial government is not showing any signs of slowing down in helping small businesses.
“We know that many township businesses collapsed under the weight of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this will not shake our determination to fundamentally change the township economic landscape,” Makhura said.
One of the policies Makhura’s government has embarked on is the Township Economic Development Bill. Public hearings in the legislature are still under way.
Makhura reiterated that his administration is keenly awaiting the legislature to pass the bill into law.
He said the bill seeks to address the following:
- Create new developmental regulations and by-laws that will make it simpler, easier and cheaper to formalise more than 90% of informal businesses.
- Set up an institutional and legal mandate for the creation of the Township Economy Partnership Fund, which will pull both public and private sector resources to fund township-based businesses.
- Create a legal framework for provincial government and municipalities to support the development of township real estate, turning taxi ranks into business hubs and providing infrastructure in township high streets or commercial nodes.
“In response to the immediate challenges faced by businesses, the Gauteng Provincial Government and partners set up a fund which already raised R500-million, R100-million of which is earmarked for supporting the recovery and rebuilding of township businesses affected by both Covid-19 and the July unrest,” said Makhura.