Gauteng Premier David Makhura has called for revolution in the financial sector to ensure that township entrepreneurs have access to financial capital to start and grow their businesses.
Speaking at a dialogue with township entrepreneurs on Thursday, 20 October, in Ivory Park, Midrand, Makhura said government was here to discuss how it can work with township enterprises to transform the township economy.
“Let’s form alternative institutions such stock exchanges that will support township enterprises. We are providing a platform for emerging entrepreneurs who wish to raise capital to do so in well regulated, secure and cost effective environment, backed by a proven world class technology,” said Makhura.
He asked township entrepreneurs to imagine a situation where a community or a group of local business people in one of the townships took a decision to combine their savings and invest in a local stock exchange or a local trading platform.
Makhura said this investment would directly benefit members of the community and would channel resources towards funding local development initiatives and local enterprises.
“Initiatives around the township stock exchange will go a long way in ensuring that this “missing capital”, this “latent capital” will have a platform through which it can be channelled to where it is really needed the most,” said Makhura.
This intervention will help in deepening the financial system, ensuring that it is accessible to people in the townships, who make up 80% of Gauteng’s residents. It will mean greater diversity of the financial assets available for individuals, corporates and organisations.
Since 2014, Gauteng government has consistently made the point that it will intervene to strengthen financial and non-financial support for small, medium enterprises as well township enterprises and cooperatives, in pursuit of transforming the monopoly structure of the economy.
This is in line with Gauteng’s programme for Transformation, Modernisation and Reindustrialisation, equally aimed at increasing substantially the number of black people, women, the youth and people with disabilities that participate in the mainstream economy of the Gauteng City Region.
“We want township entrepreneurs to become major players in the provincial, national, continental and even the global economy. We are serious about transforming townships to become vibrant, sustainable economic nodes and centres of production and manufacturing,” said Makhura.
Gauteng began the journey towards the revitalisation of the township economy by embarking on a major consultation process, where it interacted with no less than 50 000 township entrepreneurs in 65 townships across the province.
To date, the province has registered more than 6000 township entrepreneurs into the central supplier database. Last year, the City Region governments spent R 6 billion on procuring goods and services from township entrepreneurs up from R1.5 billion from the previous financial year.
Chairperson of 4 Africa Exchange (4EX), Chichi Maponya said 4AX was granted an exchange license in August this year, will provide a licensed listings platform to companies seeking a well-regulated, reputable and cost effective listing. She said the app-based trading exchange will go live in February 2017.
“We created 4EX to make it easy for the people to trade,” said Maponya.
She further noted that today, township entrepreneurs were fortunate that government has created a conducive environment for small/ township businesses to thrive.
In addition, the event was attended by MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile; Finance MEC Barbara Creecy, well-known township entrepreneurs such as Sakhumzi Maqubela of the famous Soweto’s Vilakazi Street Sakhumzi’s Restaurant; Thulani Mabuza of the Burial Society and Social Clubs as well as Rita Zwane, the founder of Tembisa’s Busy Corner and Imbizo Shisanyama.
Zwane said she was able to grow her R5000 business into a one million dollar business. She urged entrepreneurs to invest into their own businesses before seeking government’s assistance.
Premier Makhura concluded that all that was needed is smart regulations and funding.