By Daniel Itai, Johannesburg, South Africa
The current Gauteng Township Economic Draft Bill is seemingly creating a lot of contentions due it’s nature of contents.
The Bill which seeks to bar non South Africans who don’t have permanent residency in the country’s populous province of Gauteng’s high density suburbs from opening up businesses is currently being debated by the residents of Gauteng.
However, Dr. Vusumuzi Sibanda, chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum (ADF), has castigated the Bill citing it won’t alleviate unemployment in the province.
“The proposed Bill is meant to address the issue of unemployment and distribution of access to economic activities in Gauteng but I don’t think sidelining foreigners will benefit the country’s economic problems.
We have to understand the role played by foreigners in creating formal and informal employment plus the barriers to entry that locals encounter are not the same with foreigners so this proposed Bill might actually worsen the situation. Moreso, the Bill has to be crafted considering the role that migrants have played and are currently playing.
The very same reasons that the migrants entered into that sector is because of the failure of locals so locals thinking they can do it just because they are seeing migrants succeeding in that sector is far fetched. Therefore, I don’t think this Bill will assist the locals because these informal businesses are offering services to the locals and there is a lot of resilience that is needed in succeeding in the informal sector so I think this Bill will actually cause the unemployment figures to go higher,” said Dr. Sibanda.
However, Tsholofelo Mathibedi spokesperson of the Member of Executive Council (MEC) for Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment defended the Bill.
“This Bill aims at alleviating poverty from our people. It will also help them to turn their informal businesses into formal and granting them access to certain business initiatives,” said Mathibedi.