On 29 April 2022, Premier David Makhura signed the Township Economic Development Bill into an Act now named (TIDA). The Act has been billed as a form of redress of the apartheid regime. This process began in 2015 with the Transformation, Modernisation and Re-industrialisation of Gauteng city (TMR) with this is being realised by the TIDA.
The Act seeks to
- Bring transformation in the township and into the mainstream economy.
- Progressively transform economic opportunities for the townships.
- Establish a township partnership fund to support township-based business and to offer incentives to municipalities to develop taxi ranks into micro central business districts.
This policy appears to be a step in the right direction, aimed at resolving the current unemployment crisis, alleviating poverty, and bringing equality to the township residents. The Act is promising to the Gauteng community, but the challenge, as always, is in the implementation.
Without sufficient funding and proper implementation, this is yet another Act which achieves nothing. If this act fails to benefit the majority, fingers will continue to be pointed at foreign owned small businesses, resulting in foreign owned shops being looted and burnt by locals, despite these small foreign owned businesses employing locals and contributing to the economy.
The Act in its current form is no longer discriminatory towards foreign owned small businesses, a significant shift from the draft Bill. The Bill was explicit in excluding foreigners from owning small enterprises in townships. However, the municipal by-laws, which will be implemented in 6 months, will reveal if there are inconsistencies with the main Act. The by-laws will provide the detailed requirements needed to obtain licenses and access the funds.
Licenses. The bane of every small business and the inflection point for corruption. Despite the President calling for the cutting of red tape, and even setting up a working group to look at this, the amount of red tape keeps increasing, something which disproportionately disadvantages small businesses.
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