Govt to entertain calls for policy on foreign ownership of spaza shops

2012-06-28 10:20

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel says the government will look at calls for policy regarding the foreign ownership of spaza shops in townships.

Patel was responding to questions during the ANC’s Progressive Business Forum breakfast in Midrand following calls by the Western Cape ANC that foreigner ownership of spaza shops should be regulated.

The party reportedly said the number of spaza shops must be curtailed or this could result in the outbreak of xenophobia.

“This is a complex area of policy for us because we have multiple objectives. Many people have left their countries, one of the things we need to do is ensure that their talent and energy is utilised.”

He said there was also a need to find ways of stimulating enterprise, but said the challenge was to manage this “without the dangers of xenophobia”.

“The local spaza shop is one of the effective ways of bringing people into entrepreneurship,” he said.

He said there was also a need to grow the skills of South Africans and to create “hunger for success” among locals.

He said some of this will be linked to post-school training.

Earlier he told the forum that it could no longer be business as usual for the country, given the economic challenges it faces.

“We cannot continue to grow without accelerating efforts to address inequality, especially through the creation of decent work opportunities. Our people must be able to see results. They must benefit increasingly and tangibly from growth,” Patel said.

He said the biggest challenge for government and business was to find ways to engage on the multi-billion infrastructure programme.

“We need business to be pro-active in helping us find solutions to the organisational and resourcing challenges of scaling up investment to the necessary levels,” he said.

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