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Joburg entrepreneurs call for land and funding


The lack of land, space and funding and the confiscation of liquor from shebeens were some of the issues identified during a Ntirhisano feedback meeting in Finetown, south of Johannesburg, on Wednesday September 28 as obstacles to business development and prosperity.

Ntirhisano, a Xitsonga word for co-operation, is a province-wide community outreach initiative that the Gauteng Provincial Government and municipalities, including the City of Johannesburg, use to unlock service delivery issues.

Wednesday’s meeting followed a visit to the area by Gauteng Premier David Makhura in May to listen to challenges facing residents and to find ways to resolve them.

Scores of local business owners attended the meeting at the Finetown Multipurpose Centre in the City of Johannesburg’s Region G, which was addressed by Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Lebogang Maile.

Dineo Mkhwanazi, owner of Sisonke Tuckshop, told MEC Maile that her two-year-old business was rapidly expanding but a lack of space and funding was inhibiting her growth.

“Last year I filled out forms at the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller to apply for funding for training on how to run a business. I’ve received no feedback. I need this training to enhance my understanding of running a business. The shop is busy from early morning until we close at 8pm.

“I want to open a food area outside the shop where my customers can sit and enjoy a meal. This is why the space I’m operating from has become too small. I’d also like branding assistance. As the business grows I’d have to hire more staff,” she said.

Some in the audience complained that the “deep south” had been neglected by the government.

In his response, MEC Maile said the government had a budget to revitalise the township economy but this was not enough. “We need to do more with less. If we give you money we want it back. In Gauteng we are owed R100-million. Some businesses get a cash injection and misuse it,” he said.

“As government in Gauteng we have said 30% of our procurement spend must go to township businesses. Your problems will be solved when you work with us. All the issues that have been raised here are noted.

“The issue of funding is a huge problem that cannot be solved easily. It is about how we use money to grow our businesses. As township businesses we must support each other. Our mentality has to change,” said MEC Maile.

He said when people ventured into business, they needed to know what they wanted to do. “This is why I came today with our agencies, such as the Gauteng Gambling Board, Gauteng Enterprise Propeller and the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency. These agencies are tasked with assisting you,” said the MEC.