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