By Kaya 959 Reporter
Mobile containers are helping give Gauteng’s township economy a major boost.
Global mobile brand itel has donated containers to various townships in the province to help alleviate unemployment.
The townships include Tembisa, Soweto, Rabie Ridge, Hospital View, Ivory Park , Etafeni, eSangweni, Winnie Mandela, Bram Fischer and Cosmos City.
Wavelet Wu, general manager of itel, said beneficiaries were identified by community groups, clubs and religious structures.
The containers, which were officially handed over last month in time for Heritage Day, are located at beneficiaries’ properties or in communal areas such as churchyards, making them easy to locate and access by the local community.
Each container has been customised and converted to suit the respective businesses. They are also equipped with electricity, a steady water supply, plumbing, and necessary security features.
Building a sustainable business ecosystem
“Through this investment, we want to boost entrepreneurial skills and help to create a sustainable business ecosystem in townships that will ensure that the rand recirculates in the township. In a society with high unemployment, entrepreneurship becomes paramount and we want to play our part in fostering a culture of self-sustainability,” Wu said.
He said they are acutely aware of South Africa’s record unemployment rate of 34.4%, with joblessness in Gauteng sitting even higher at 35.4%
Wu said itel has recognised that empowering small businesses like spaza shops, shoe-cleaning enterprises and catering businesses is key to boosting the township economy.
“Prior to the arrival of the pandemic, the informal sector employed some five-million people and contributed more than 5% of the country’s total GDP, according to Statistics South Africa,” he said.
He added that the sector has contracted significantly as the pandemic cut a destructive path through communities, diminishing spending power and forcing many traders out of business.