There has been mixed reaction to the adoption of the Gauteng Township Economic Development Bill, which aims to boost businesses and communities in the province’s townships.
Small enterprises and lobby groups say they will wait to see if it is effectively implemented so that it will be easier to attract investors, get financing and be awarded bigger contracts.
Federated Hospitality Association of SA (FEDHASA) chairperson Rosemary Anderson said the legislation had to translate into meaningful positive change for those in hospitality and tourism in townships, especially regarding the ease of doing business.
“Currently, it is very difficult to get the necessary zoning for a place of refreshment like a restaurant, pub or tavern in the townships,” she said.
Anderson also noted the zoning difficulties that other township businesses faced.
“By not being able to get the necessary zoning, it makes it impossible to get the necessary liquor licence,” she told Vutivi News.
“As such, many hospitality businesses are forced to be non-compliant in order to start their businesses.
“This has other negative ramifications for the business, since they are then not able to get the necessary funding or loans to grow their businesses since they are theoretically trading illegally.”
Anderson also said the government needed to continue working on creating a conducive environment for the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Hospitality and tourism is the second largest sector employer in the country,” she said.
“We really hope that government creates an environment for our labour-intensive sector to prosper and thrive, whereby we can greatly contribute to lessening the unacceptable levels of unemployment.”
Tebogo Raseruthe, who owns sports brand, TraseSports, said that he hoped that the new law was not empty talk, but would translate into future investment opportunities.
“I hope that this means that it will be easier for businesses like mine to get investment for my business so that my business can compete with larger businesses,” he said.
“We do not want to end up having to eat from the scraps that they throw at us simply because we are township businesses.
“We should be able to get government contracts and the opportunity to get them so that we can also compete fairly in the sector.”
Gauteng Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development MEC Parks Tau welcomed the Bill as a new deal and legal mechanism to rebuild better township economies.
“The by-laws enacted by this Bill also makes it easier to incentivise the installation of broadband in township enterprise zones and empower township-based internet service providers,” he said.
“This is a central and strategic intervention, enabled by this Bill, to the creation of potentially thousands of jobs in the gig economy and through the global business services sector.”