Residents urged to support local businesses

Masabata Ishmael from women co-operative Litha explains challenges faced by small businesses in Khayelitsha.

Khayelitsha residents and business people attending the Ezasekasi Boosting Township Economy imbizo were urged to support the local economy to promote its growth.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Tokozile Xasa was accompanied by MEC for Tourism Alan Winde, as well as other government officials from various departments, to the event at Look Out Hill, on Wednesday March 1.

The meeting allowed residents, community leaders, businesses and government officials to share ideas and promote active participation in tourism initiatives.

The imbizo also highlighted a number of priority projects and programmes to help local business owners, while ensuring that sustainable jobs were created.

Ms Xasa, who toured local bed and breakfast establishments, did not shy away from discussing issues relating to youth skills development initiatives.

Employment featured prominently on the agenda as Ms Xasa addressed the gathering.

“We must have inclusive economic growth. You cannot talk economic growth in isolation, without including the entire business sector, local people and young people. We need integration and collaboration between the private sector, the government and the entire country. We need to grow small businesses,” she said.

Ms Xasa also shared information on how the government worked to develop tourism and up-skill the youth and to create employment and alleviate poverty. “There are many opportunities.

“We need young people to be trained in many areas like marketing. From now on we want tangible programmes that will help young people,” she said.

Mr Winde said tourism was part of the province’s economic drive. “Our target is to add more jobs to the ones that are existing. In tourism there is huge potential,” he said.

Small Business Development Deputy Minister Elizabeth Thabethe commended the tourism department for going out to the business community and said she was happy to see women involved in co-operatives.

Ms Thabethe said there should be a working relationship with the tourism department.

“This will surely boost local the market. We need to buy from home. Tourists must be attracted to come to townships.

“But we need to teach our people to make authentic clothes with quality. By so doing we will emerge victorious,” she said.

Masabata Ishmael, from Litha co-operative, said they were not doing enough business at the Look Out Hill because few tourist went there. “We need support from everyone.

“There should also be a marketplace for business people where we will all have a chance to sell. I hope the ministers consider that too,” she said.