ANC calls for regulation of illegal shops

2012-06-27 00:00

THE ANC wants to amend business legislation to clamp down on illegal businesses and business practices.

“We have too many illegal activities and businesses going on in South Africa that are restricting the space for South African businesses to succeed. We must clamp down on these illegal businesses,” Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies said during a breakfast session of the ANC’s national policy conference yesterday.

Davies was responding to a question relating to the Western Cape ANC’s comments about spaza shops in that province’s townships.

Western Cape provincial ANC secretary Songezo Mjongile last week called for a reduction in the number of township spaza shops owned by foreigners.

According to reports, Mjongile said there is cause for concern that South African township entrepreneurs are disappearing.

“There is an explosion of foreigners who own shops and are closing down local people’s businesses. The foreigners must be restricted because the situation can lead to increased tension between the residents, and even xenophobia,” Mjongile said.

Davies said the issue for the DTI is not one of ownership, but rather of what kind of business is being done and how. “The Department of Trade and Industry does not, as a rule, look at who owns businesses in South Africa. Rather, we look at the type of business being run and whether or not it is legal.”

Davies said an aggravating factor is the existing business act, which looks at issues like zoning and the issuing of permits. The illegal activities to which Davies was referring include illegal imports, abalone smuggling and trading without the necessary permits by people who are not legally in the country. “These are the businesses we want to clamp down on.”

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