Informal traders are key to the development of local economies and mayors and councils will do well to find ways of working with them instead of unleashing the police on these crucial stakeholders, the minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Dr Zweli Mkhize says.
He called on mayors and councils to stop unleashing municipal police on informal traders but rather to find how best to work with them because they were key to the development of local economies.
Mkhize today in Cape Town at the Council of Mayors meeting, hosted by the South African Local Government Association (Salga) under the theme “Enhancing the Role of municipalities in promoting Investment and Job creation”, called on mayors and councils to find creative ways of working with informal traders.
“There is a need to find ways of licensing informal traders and other innovative ways need to be found to mainstream the traders. Some of the efforts already under way involve the conversations with the dti and department of Small Business Development,” Mkhize said.
“Small business is at the heart of creating employment and each municipality should be leading in creating employment in their spaces. Each municipality needs to find the way to do the basics to attract and retain investment.
“Over and above that, each mayor and council needs to find the competitive edge to attract more investment, which could include the development of industrial parks.”
Mkhize also called on municipalities to identify land for development and not only for human settlements, but industrial parks especially near townships where there was high unemployment.
In terms of supporting infrastructure in municipalities, the minister announced that through the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent, at least 150 engineers would be appointed and sent to various areas.
“Inclusive in those numbers will be a drive to recruit young graduates to be mentored and be part of that support given to municipalities.”
He acknowledged that the issues of electricity reticulation had been a problem but said that Cabinet had approved a framework to sort out this issue and Cogta and other departments were working on the implementation plan.
Minister Mkhize said that Cogta and Salga were continuing to sort out the issues on the appointment of municipal managers to ensure the smooth operation of municipalities.
The gathering provides a platform for mayors to meet annually and address challenges they experience and also is also a platform for learning, sharing and reflecting.
There was also an opportunity for focused discussions on the realities of the executive arm of municipalities.
– African News Agency (ANA)