New Gauteng economic bill a huge boost for township businesses
The Gauteng Township Economic Development Bill will ensure the government and its main contractors buy from township-based enterprises
The Gauteng legislature’s portfolio committee on economic development, environment, agriculture & rural development has introduced a bill that aims to make it possible for people living in townships to start and run thriving businesses, enterprises and co-operatives.
The Gauteng Township Economic Development Bill promises to be an answered prayer for many township-based businesses, entrepreneurs, taxi operators, real estate businesses and many others to enjoy equal opportunities as their counterparts in the CBD and upmarket neighbourhoods.
Public hearings were held in February to discuss the bill and comments were gathered for consolidation.
Committee chair Mpapa Kanyane said the bill was necessitated by the “unlevel playing field” in the province — where township-based enterprises still experienced slower growth, if any at all, in comparison to their counterparts closer to the city centre.
“The bill establishes specific procurement rules and programmatic support that allows the government and its main contractors to buy from a large group of township-based enterprises, with systems linking them so they can supply large enterprises,” says Kanyane.
“It also compels enterprises that obtain government contracts to spend a certain percentage of their procurement on township-based enterprises, entrepreneurs and co-operatives.”
The Gauteng legislature’s portfolio committee on economic development, environment, agriculture & rural development held public hearings on the Gauteng Township Economy Development Bill on February 16 and 23..
The introduction of the bill forms part of the Gauteng legislature’s lawmaking mandate to the province.
“The Gauteng legislature initiates and passes laws that govern the province, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of life of citizens,” says Kanyane.
He says the bill is informed by research and specific information gathered from townships, to get an accurate picture of the nature of businesses operating there and the type of legislative support they require.
He says research pointed to a gap in how the playing field is regulated, which continued to place a burden on township-based enterprises because of their location. This, he continues, calls for the legislature’s intervention.
“The bill enables municipalities to develop taxi ranks into micro central business districts and to support the taxi economy to use its scale to grow supporting value chains and industries,” says Kanyane.
“It aims to support the development and promotion of a township-based real estate development model; convert areas with high commercial densities into township high streets; and promote and support the development of representative associations of township-based enterprises and non-profit organisations.”
This article was paid for by the Gauteng provincial legislature.