In its ongoing crusade to support informal businesses, the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) has handed over business equipment to informal business owners in Port St Johns (PSJ) Local Municipality.
The handover, which took place at the PSJ Townhall on March 18, 2023, targeted designated groups who are also the most vulnerable in society. Of the 13 beneficiaries, 11 were women.
The equipment handover by DEDEAT falls under the Informal Business Support Programme (IBSP), which is implemented by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC).
The Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) also handed over business machinery and equipment such as fridges, pots and wheelbarrows under the Informal Micro Enterprise Development Programme.
Both programmes aim to assist informal traders in formalising their businesses and improving their trading operations by providing resources, training, mentorship, access to finance, and market linkages.
The occasion was a demonstration of the District Development Model (DDM), which saw national, provincial, and local government, agencies, and businesses working together towards shared objectives.
The DEDEAT Regional Manager for Economic Development, Ntomboxolo Boni, expressed her delight during the handover event and stated that the aim is to help informal businesses formalise, thrive, and ultimately address the challenge of unemployment in the region.
The timing of the handover of business equipment is particularly significant for Port St Johns, as the region recently experienced floods that caused damage to business infrastructure, lost productivity and income, supply chain disruptions, possible employee displacement, and emotional distress. The equipment is critical to help affected businesses recover and continue trading.
The province, through DEDEAT, is currently reviewing its policy framework for informal businesses to ensure continued support for micro and informal businesses in townships and rural villages, in line with the Provincial Informal Business Strategic Framework.
During his 2023 policy speech, MEC for DEDEAT, Mlungisi Mvoko, stated that the provincial government has committed to establishing a conducive environment for the successful execution of the Township and Rural Economy.
MEC Mvoko added that this approach would significantly aid in reducing inequalities and providing hope to individuals residing on the fringes of the formal economy.
The region will be handing over another batch of business equipment to Ingquza Hill Local Municipality’s informal business owners on April 21, 2023.