Kasi businesses are playing their part in building the township economy


By Mduduzi Malinga


Kasi businesses remain the backbone of the South African economy, creating job opportunities in the communities.


According to Statistics South Africa, there are more than 500 townships with over 21 million residents. Soweto, in Johannesburg, is the largest with about 2 million residents, followed by Tembisa in Kempton Park, with around half a million residents, and Katlehong in Germiston, with more than 400,000 residents.


Townships today contain about half of South Africa’s urban population and 38% of its working-age citizens but as much as 60% of its unemployed according to the World Bank.


This socio-economic isolation has resulted in the development of what, today, is considered a township economic sector containing nearly six million businesses such as kiosks, shisa nyama (barbecue kiosks), spaza shops, roadside clothes stalls, and other vendors selling a variety of goods.


An estimate by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) puts the annual GDP contribution of the local SME sector at 34% with these enterprises employing between 50% – 60% of the total workforce.


The 2021 South African Township Marketing Report published by RogerWilco, found that spaza shops contribute as much as 5.2% to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing 2.6 million people, this expanded economy of these informal convenience shops is at around R600 million in constant GDP numbers.


Township businesses run by entrepreneurs are a ray of hope for the economy because they provide job opportunities and contribute significantly to the employment of people. This is why Brand South Africa saw it fit to collaborate   with the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA), where they hosted a pitching clinic in the form of a Kasi Business Workshop in Tlhabane, North West as a platform for township entrepreneurs to access information, gain skills, exhibit, and network.


Township Entrepreneurs Alliance better known as TEA, established in 2015, has a focus in empowering township-based companies and entrepreneurs with knowledge sharing, skills development, enterprise development and access to market. They empower existing and aspiring entrepreneurs with skills required to operate and grow a business sustainably through its monthly free workshops hosted in various townships across the country.


To date they have directly impacted over 6500+ entrepreneurs and 20 000+ township high school students. Their dream is to develop hubs of economic development that will aid the youth in townships and rural areas in South Africa.


As part of the programme of the event, seven pitching contestants were selected and the winner Neo Tjabaka, is the founder of Spick and Span Laundry Room receiving a cash prize of R50 000 for her company based in Tlhabane, which was established in 2021.


Neo founded her business after she lost her mother who was the breadwinner of the family leaving her unemployed.


They are located at 41C2 Byron Street, Rustenburg North ans can be reached at laundry.spicknspan@gmail.com


The workshops are designed to encourage up and coming entrepreneurs to implement growth and sales strategies for their customer base in the township, to enable a thriving Kasi economy for township dwellers and communities. This includes exhibitors who showcase their products and services for township consumers.


Other sponsors and partners included Nedbank, Suzuki, and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).


Lerato Legodi, Brand South Africa Strategic Relationship Manager-Government said, “Part of Brand South Africa supporting the workshops is because this is in line with our mandate in promoting businesses that are contributing and uplifting the economy of South Africa.”


Brand South Africa’s mandate of promoting youth development and entrepreneurship is aligned to the collaboration with the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance through its flagship programme, Play Your Part encourage young people to proactively take up the space and add value to South Africa economy by creating businesses in their communities.