Lucas Phala of the Bela-Bela Business Agency and Community Organization. Photo: Lizzy Bapela

Small business community owners up in arms over outsiders

 
 
 

Lizzy Bapela   l   Views: 75

Owners of small business entities at Bela-Bela’s Extension 8 and 9 have cried foul over the increase in outsiders setting up shop in the neighbourhood.

Lucas Phala, chairperson of the Bela-Bela Business Agency and Community Organization, said the main concern was the steady inflow of stores owned by outsiders mushrooming in the area.

He said this trend had the potential to deny the local small business community the opportunity to expand and create job opportunities for locals.

Phala said members of the organization had meetings with representatives from the Bela-Bela Local Municipality and the SAPS in recent weeks.

At the meetings, he alleged, it was agreed that both the local authorities and police monitor the legalities around the influx of store-owners arriving from outside of the area.

Phala said what was of grave concern to the local business community was that the new arrivals had shown them letters of approval, allegedly from a local politician.

“The local municipality or any government entity cannot employ all of us. Entrepreneurship is our only hope to feed our families,” he said.

Phala said the increase in stores set up by outsiders negatively affected the locals’ livelihoods.

He said the Bela-Bela Business Agency and Community Organization would push for further meetings with the authorities to discuss the effects of the developments.

In response, ward councillor Freddy Hlungwane denied the allegations that businessmen from outside of the neighbourhood were granted letters of approval.

“If beneficiaries of the stands that the tuck-shops are being built at choose to let the foreign business people rent space in their yards, then who am I to deny them? 

“I understand the organization’s frustrations but, there are by-laws in the municipality, which states that people intending to turn their stands into business sites should apply at the municipal offices and I do not work in that department. 

“So it is up to the stand beneficiaries as the rightful owners to choose and decide what to do with their stands, not Freddy Hlungwane,” he argued. 

23 months ago       12 October 2017