The Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile, recently convened with township shopkeepers in Tembisa to discuss a dispute over municipal rates and service charges.
Many township businesses cite the cost of municipal services and billing challenges as obstacles to running profitable enterprises in townships.This photo is courtesy of TripAdvisor.
"During our township economy revitalisation road-shows, municipal rates and service charges were identified as contentious issues by township entrepreneurs. This was raised in almost all the road-shows that we convened which clearly means that it is a pervasive issue that affects businesses across different townships," said Maile.
Engagement with municipalities
He expressed intentions to take the matter up with municipalities in Gauteng. "We will be engaging municipalities on this problem. We want to encourage township businesses to operate within the law and pay municipal rates and service charges. At the same time, it is important that special consideration be made when dealing with township businesses as these have unique needs and challenges."
In the meantime, affected business people in Tembisa convened on 28 August at the Tembisa council chamber where municipal officials scrutinised accounts to determine arrears and ponder possible solutions for the debt incurred.
The consultations and ongoing interventions to resolve specific issues facing township businesses are part of Gauteng government's implementation of the Township Economy Revitalisation Strategy, which highlighted the cost of doing business and access to economic infrastructure like water and electricity amongst the biggest challenges facing township businesses.