Political parties make promises to SMMEs ahead of local govt elections

The Democratic Alliance’s manifesto promises voters to bring jobs and investment to the local economy.

A flower vendor from Adderley Street, in Cape Town. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/Eyewitness News.

Author: Tebogo Mokwena

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In the build-up to the local government elections, political parties have made several promises to SMMEs should they win the polls in their respective municipalities. But Township Entrepreneurs’ Alliance CEO Bulelani Balabala said it remained to be seen if any of them would make good on their undertakings to support the sector. The Democratic Alliance’s manifesto promises voters to bring jobs and investment to the local economy.

“The informal food economy employs, directly or indirectly, some three million people,” their manifesto reads. “The lack of proper provision of trading spaces and adequate regulation through issuing of trading permits creates conflict between formal businesses, formal and informal traders as well as the health and safety needs of the public.”

The DA, which has been accused in Cape Town of being harsh on traders and taking away their livelihoods, has assured traders that identification would only be requested where there was reasonable suspicion of a violation or illegal activity, or when required for administrative purposes. Commenting on the issue of by-laws, Balabala told Vutivi News that these laws were outdated and oppressive to informal businesses.

“When you look at the placement of black people in townships, these were historically intended to frustrate (informal traders) economically, and we as an organisation believe that if we were to open up these economic spatial zones, we can enable the growth of SMMEs (in the informal sector)”, he said. “We can’t have a situation where a company that has, for example, created 200 jobs is being told to shut down because he is encroaching on municipal land.

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