Crime the main barrier to township economic participation: Competition Commission

The Competition Commission was in parliament on Wednesday giving an update on the implementation of new legislation, the Competition Act. The Competition Commission's Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele speaks with Rofhiwa Madzena on this issue. Courtesy of #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG - The Competition Commission said a holistic approach is needed to improve the situation for small businesses operating in the township economy.

The Commission was in Parliament on Wednesday to give an update on the implementation of amendments to the Competition Act.

READ: Pricing complaints on the rise

The commission updated the government on how the organisation's powers have been strengthened to deal with abuse of dominance in South Africa's markets and said they have made progress in prosecuting cartels operating in the economy.

Tembinkosi Bonakele, the Competition Commission's Commissioner, explained interfacing done with the Gauteng Department of Economic Development on the Township Economic Development Bill, intended to protect SMEs in the township retail market. 

Bonakele said, according to their research, business people trying to enter the township retail space have named foreign national-owned competitors as a challenge to their businesses as well as large corporations entering the retail space through malls but named one, even more urgent concern.

"Most importantly, the number one problem of doing business, running spaza shops in the townships, is crime.

"This came out as a very big issue. What we are saying is part of the response is not simply to ban foreigners because that is not solving the ultimate problem which is that the high levels of crime don't allow people to run businesses that are cash-based, such as spaza shops," Bonakele said.