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R160m lift for township business

Oct 07 2014 17:54

Johannesburg - The Gauteng provincial government will invest at least R160m in revitalising and building business hubs in townships, Gauteng premier David Makhura said on Tuesday.

"We will invest R160m for the current financial year to build infrastructure for the township entrepreneurs to do their work properly," he told the Gauteng township economy revitalisation summit in Soweto.

"Many of them do their work in their homes, often making a noise and disturbing those in the house. They would like to do more work but they can't."

Makhura outlined the plans his administration had for building the township's economy. He said over the next five years, the government would invest R1bn in building and improving infrastructure for entrepreneurs to operate from.

He promised delegates that the government would look at some of the laws hampering business growth in townships.

"We are passing laws that don't promote SMMEs," he said.

Makhura said the government would lead by example and start procuring goods and services from townships.

At various feeding schemes in the province, hundreds of thousands of loaves of bread were being consumed, which should be bought from township entrepreneurs.

"Even with furniture, we are buying office and school furniture from big corporates and even foreign-owned businesses. This must come to an end. We must buy furniture from the township producers," Makhura said.

University of Johannesburg Centre for Small Business Development director Thami Mazwai called on township businesses to create an "ecosystem" that would see money circulate in their areas to ensure growth.

"Let us create an ecosystem to ensure spending power is trapped in the township."

Mazwai said Soweto residents spent more than a R1bn a year, but less than 20% of this was spent in the township.

"The money is spent in Sandton and Randburg. It is about time that the money of the people of Soweto develops Soweto," he said.

Mazwai appealed to businesses to support one another, as the socio-economic benefits accompanied by such a move were immeasurable.

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