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Business puts the Joburg Market in the spotlight

The Johannesburg Business Forum has raised concerns with the Gauteng Government’s decision to press ahead with plans to establish another fresh produce market in the province.

At its last meeting of the year on Friday December 2, the forum – whose members are drawn from various business sectors and the City Johannesburg – said it believed that instead of establishing a new inland port, priority should be given to the marketing and promotion of the existing facility in City Deep.

An entity of the City of Johannesburg, the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market is the biggest of its kind in Africa, serving more than 5 000 farmers and visited by 11 000 customers daily.

The forum’s major role is to influence economic development in Johannesburg and create a platform for all sectors to make their input. It holds meeting once a month. Senior City officials, among others, are afforded the opportunity to share insight into projects that have direct a link with business and economic growth at these meetings.

Nkateko Shipalana, Chairperson of the forum and a Deputy Director in the City’s Economic Development Department, said the JBF was playing a critical role in communicating and finding common ground with business sectors across the city.

“The forum gives all parties involved the space to communicate. In our meetings this year we’ve been able to resolve many challenges raised by the business community. It’s important that we continue to grow the JBF as it allows us to deal with matters face to face,” said Shipalana

During Friday’s meeting, the economic future of City Deep, the only inland port in South Africa, was one of the key items on the agenda. Members said it was a concern that City Deep’s future was not being properly communicated. Members asked that relevant City officials be invited to brief the forum on the status of the market.

Shipalana said it was important that business and the City discuss these issues openly so all players could contribute to the way the economy in Johannesburg was managed. He said plans were afoot to expand the forum and create space for more sectors to participate next year.

He added that an action plan, to be driven mainly by the business community, had already been agreed to.