Gaut­eng look­ing to im­pact town­ship busi­nesses

Vuk'uzenzele - - Local Government - Su­laiman Philip

The gauT­eng gov­ern­ment has spelt out a num­ber of plans to cre­ate 600 000 jobs in the next two years and to boost town­ship economies.

gaut­eng MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs and Agri­cul­ture Le­bo­gang Maile un­veiled his de­part­ment’s 2017/2018 bud­get re­cently. It spells out plans to grow town­ship and ru­ral Gaut­eng economies through public pro­cure­ment and grow the prov­ince’s knowl­edge-based econ­omy.

His de­part­ment is in a key po­si­tion to cre­ate jobs and stim­u­late the econ­omy.

The MEC added that the pro­vin­cial econ­omy needed to cre­ate 600 000 jobs by 2019 just to keep up with the num­ber of new job seek­ers. Most of that growth is ex­pected to take place in town­ships, and the prov­ince’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment bud­get re­flects that.

In town­ships

The prov­ince’s re­cently adopted Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Plan will not only guide pol­icy to­ward that end, but also help break bot­tle­necks in the man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vice sec­tors.

Over the past three years, one of the prov­ince’s suc­cesses was its Qondisa iShishini lakho! (Fix Your Busi­ness!) cam­paign. Through road­shows and town­ship vis­its, the cam­paign has helped reg­is­ter 7 000 pre­vi­ously in­for­mal town­ship busi­nesses. They now qual­ify for fi­nanc­ing, in­vest­ment, train­ing and busi­ness ad­vi­sory ser­vices through gov­ern­ment agen­cies.

Work­ing through the Gaut­eng Eco­nomic Pro­pel­ler, the Gaut­eng In­for­mal Busi­ness Up­lift­ment Strat­egy will con­tinue to for­malise in­for­mal town­ship busi­nesses. “We are now spend­ing more than R6 bil­lion [on town­ship busi­nesses] but it’s still not enough. We want to spend at least 30 per cent of our bud­get by 2019.”

Train­ing fu­ture busi­ness lead­ers

The prov­ince will es­tab­lish a Town­ship Lo­cal Pro­ducer and Whole­sale site to as­sist 100 lo­cal pro­duc­ers to en­ter the re­tail sec­tor. The site will also in­cu­bate busi­nesses, help with regis­tra­tion and act as a re­tail space for them.

In ad­di­tion, the Con­struc­tion Eco-Sys­tem Cen­tre will fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing the skills of town­ship contractors. Be­tween now and 2019, up to 50 de­vel­op­ers will re­ceive skills train­ing and be tu­tored in how to run their busi­ness.

A three-year in­cu­ba­tion project, In­cu­ba­tion of Au­to­mo­tive Sec­tor In­for­mal Busi­nesses, will con­cen­trate on train­ing 75 back­yard me­chan­ics. They will be given train­ing and on com­ple­tion, will re­ceive equip­ment and be ac­cred­ited to ser­vice pro­vin­cial and lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity fleets.

Work­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor, the prov­ince has iden­ti­fied 150 black in­dus­tri­al­ists who will be men­tored to run their own min­ing, con­struc­tion and agri­cul­tural equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies.

Th­ese pro­grammes, along with the de­vel­op­ment of five in­dus­trial sites, are in­tended to boost Gaut­eng’s town­ship economies.

(Photo: Tim Ab­bott)

The prov­ince will in­vest R6 bil­lion to im­prove in­fra­struc­ture and cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for town­ship en­trepreneurs.

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