Gauteng Premier David Makhura has announced a R100 million fund that is aimed at supporting businesses in the township retail sector.
He was speaking at the launch of the Gauteng Township Retail Programme at Sam Ntuli Stadium in Thokoza on Monday morning.
The Premier said although the provincial government is committed to supporting township enterprises to grow, those living in the townships also have to begin buying from local shops.
“We have implementing partners all around the townships so the township businesses must be organised. It [makes it] easier for us to support a group or association [of retailers] than doing it on an individual basis. When the businesses are organised, you are more powerful.
“[The community] must also buy from each other. We must spend the money that we have in the township. Buy the bread made next door – you will get a good price and you will also be helping to grow the township economy,” he said.
Makhura said women business owners will specifically be targeted for support.
“There can be no township economy without women. The women’s businesses… are the largest in our townships. Most of the people who are selling and involved in business in the township are women. So we must have a specific target … [that says] of this R100 million, how of much of that will be for women-owned businesses,” he said.
Makhura explained that revitalising and building stronger sectors of the township economy will take some hard work.
“If we want to fix the township economy, we must start with those small retail businesses and make sure they are supported by government. [We] are already supporting some township businesses in order to help them grow. We want the people in the township – for generation after generation – to be the ones running these businesses,” he said.
The announcement of the fund comes at least 100 days since Makhura signed the Township Economy Development Act into law.
The law requires, among other interventions, provincial government departments to procure at least 40% of goods and services from township businesses where possible.
“This is the implementation of the Township Economy Act. That law must not just be a policy, it must be implemented. It must not be shelved or put away in offices in must be implemented so that we can feel the township economy [growing].
“There are many people in the township who are working hard…who don’t sleep to make sure they make proper businesses to support and feed their children. The township development act is about supporting those businesses,” he said.
Makhura said other sectors – township manufacturers and township real estate – will also be receiving attention.
Source: South African Government News Agency