Posted: August 19, 2019
SA Needs to Look into African Style Trading Markets to Rescue the Township Economy – Deputy Minister Majola
|The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Fikile Majola says government needs to explore the idea of establishing markets for small business operators to trade their goods and products in South African townships, to revive the failing economy.
Majola was speaking to young entrepreneurs at a seminar in Krugersdorp today. The seminar brought young entrepreneurs in conversation with government and support agency officials, and other critical specialists, to engage on a range of issues and challenges affecting their ventures. The gathering was conceived and organised by young entrepreneurship students from the Tshwane University of Technology.
The purpose of the event was to create a platform to sharpen entrepreneurial skills among the youth, and to unpack opportunities and the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) on industries, business, government and communities. The major technological advances taking place globally require business models which can cope with the growing complexity of systems based on digital Information and Communication Technologies.
Majola said the growth of big supermarkets has contributed a great deal to the demise of the township economy, and government needs to consider providing infrastructure for African style markets, that will enable businesses in townships to thrive once more.
“We need to use the model of Soweto’s Vilakazi Street and replicate it across many townships. Government needs to consider seriously providing infrastructure for such trading markets so that people who have business ideas can have space from which to promote and sell their products. This will contribute positively in the task of rebuilding the township economy,” he added.
Majola also said that it was important for young people in business who are passionate about creating jobs to be given all the support necessary, so that they could contribute to dealing with the country’s unemployment crisis.
Other key partners who participated in the seminar included business and 4IR experts, Mogale City Municipality, the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Gauteng government and Development Finance Institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa).
Speaking on the 4th Industrial Revolution, Standard Bank’s Mr Lebohang Ahutu urged the entrepreneurs to recognise the importance of the new era, that revolutions come not to hurt industries and people, but to enhance and better people’s lives. He said the 4IR brings along a demand for new skills, jobs and new business opportunities.
“As you will know, robots cannot make people, it is people who make robots and it is people who will have to control and fix them when they break. Gone are the days when you need to be computer literate to stand a chance at securing a good job. The future of work and business will also require an individuals to be information literate. So now in the competitive world of work you will also have to have the ability to read data from sources, be able to interrogate and analyse that data to assist organisations in making critical decisions,” he added.
In the discussions, the delegates raised a number of challenges they face in running their businesses which included lack of space and premises to operate their businesses, lack of access to critical information on government support programmes and availability of funds that enable them to thrive in their ventures. They also raised a lot of frustration with the administration processes and red tape which they said limits their ability to grow and thrive in business.
Ms Joy Maimela from the National Youth Development Agency also urged the entrepreneurs to ensure they adapt to advances in technology to lessen the hurdles in accessing critical services from the variety of institutions. However, she cautioned that while the emergence of the 4IR was inevitable and young people need to prepare and acquire the necessary skills, it is still critical to ensure that jobs are secured and retrenchments are avoided as much as possible
She emphasised: “At a time when we are faced with an unemployment crisis in the country, the private sector should take the necessary care to avert job losses where possible.”
The Mayor of Mogale City, Councillor Patrick Lipudi committed the municipality to exploring different ways in which they can avail sites and land where entrepreneurs can trade.