The dearth of township business owned by locals continues to be a cause for concern. In many townships across South Africa, local business owners found themselves losing grip on their business, most popularly known as the spaza shops or tuckshops. Many of them closed shop due to the stiff competition from foreign-owned spaza shops. Some of the spaza shops were even rented out to the foreign nationals.
For Metsimaholo Business Consultative Forum reviving the local economy is very important as unemployment rate increases in the country, and with consequences of Covid-19 pandemic expected to have greater negative impact in terms of economic recovery and continue job losses.
The Metsimaholo Business Consultative Forum is a structure formed to uplift and revive local economy and businesses by encouraging locals to resume businesses and also to start new businesses around Metsimaholo.
The forum is calling for the levelling of playing field in the township business and has raised a concern with alleged undocumented foreign nationals, who run businesses in the townships, and some are allegedly without valid operating documents.
Metsimaholo Business Consultative Forum spokesperson Motsamai Stefani said it was unfair that foreigners without documentation and valid trading certificates.
“We really need assistance in this regard. Many engagements were made with various departments and local municipality to try and address this issue with minimum success,”said Stefani.
The Forum said attempts as to uplift local businesses and revive local economy is met with various challenges from foreign business owners operating within the townships.
“The forum has noted with great concern behaviour and unlawful actions from the foreign business owners in Metsimaholo in response to our initiative of reviving locals businesses and assisting locals to own their businesses.
“Amongst those challenges are issues such as suffocation, whereby when local business tries to open their own businesses they are met with resistance and intimidation from foreign business owners,” he explained.
Stefani said local business owners are threatened and assaulted by foreign business owners when opening their business.
“We have experienced this behaviour especially in the townships, where when local business owner open a shop or a tuck-shop is being intimidated by foreign shop owners and suffocating their business by open many shops around it, and we can’t allow this to happen” said Stefani.
He further explained that other issues include failure to comply with Consumer Act by selling expired goods, unlawful mushrooming of foreign tuck-shops, discriminating of Metsimaholo business owners and lack of economic growth.
Stefani said the forum is currently engaging various stakeholders to come up with a joined operational programme that will assist in this regard.