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SA’s new mayors must focus on SMEs

South Africa’s newly elected mayors and municipal officer bearers should move quickly in making investments and creating policies to support Small & Medium Enterprises in their towns and cities, says ANTON VAN HEERDEN, EVP and MD, Sage South and Southern Africa.

I am highly encouraged by the support several mayors have already pledged for small businesses in their constituencies. Before the local government elections, I have urged political parties to put Small & Medium Businesses on the political agenda. It’s great to see that some newly elected officials are already thinking about how they can help South African entrepreneurs to thrive.

For example, Herman Mashaba, the new mayor of the Johannesburg metro, has promised to treat small businessmen and businesswomen as friends and to create an enabling environment for their success. He said that they create employment opportunities and generate much needed taxes for the city.

We congratulate all the individuals and parties who have just taken office in local government, but their hard work is just about to begin. There is so much local government can do in terms of creating infrastructure and cutting away red-tape to help entrepreneurs to prosper – whether it’s making it easier to apply for trading permits, creating safe places for informal traders to operate, or providing value-added services like broadband.

Entrepreneurs power the economies in our towns and cities. It is these entrepreneurs who are the drivers of prosperity for our country, and it is in government’s interest in every sphere – from local to national – to support them as they create jobs, pay taxes and provide vital services to their communities.

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