Township economy has potential to thrive

Monwabisi Mzondi Mbaliswano, Ikapa Black Business Council member, Philippi

A need exists for thought leaders, academics, entrepreneurs, community builders and other relevant stakeholders to come together and formulate a leveraging model that would turn these townships into major economic hubs, create employment, contribute to the combating of crime and bring major investments in partnerships with local municipalities.

The municipalities have a major role to ensure thriving townships by introducing by-laws that are business-friendly, quick and accountable turnaround strategies, especially on releasing of unused property for light and medium industries that would create job opportunities.

From 2009, we have made several strides in having greater role-players invest in local townships, but the “red tape” has been a major barrier, leading to unused land being illegally occupied after five or more years standing idle. 

For example, the Cape Flats lost a R250 million project for theatre production in 2009 because of red tape, and there are many other examples where more than R800 million has been lost to the township economy for the same reason.

There is a great appetite for private investment in the townships, but it is being stymied by red tape, social ills and gate-keeping. 

These hurdles could be easily overcome as there is constant innovation in doing business.

On the Cape Flats, we have more than 200 internationally renowned athletes, artists, community builders and entrepreneurs, who have been global ambassadors.

Yet there has been no proper infrastructure where these leaders could impart their skills, mentor, create jobs and cement the local economy. We have Benni McCarthy, Mzonke Fana, Andrea Dondolo, Pauline Malefane, Ringo Madlingozi, Sylvia Mdunyelwa, Noel Daniels, Peter Motale, Shamiel Kolbee, Luvuyo Rani, Mzuvukile Magwaca, Spiwo Xapile, Sihle Tshabalala, Phumza Maweni and Ashraf Allie. The list is endless.