Briefing Paper 514: Foreigners and township economies
In September the Gauteng provincial legislature published for public comment the Gauteng Township Economic Development Draft Bill, which has as its main objective the promotion and development of the township economy. This is arguably an important initiative since a thriving township economy is essential for the fight against poverty and the realisation of socio-economic rights. However, the draft Bill also seeks to ban foreign nationals who do not have permanent residence status from owning and operating certain township business. The reasons for the ban seem to rely on the rhetoric, often used by political parties, that foreign nationals are preventing locals from accessing economic opportunities. But, as research has shown, the opposite is true: foreign nationals contribute significantly to a thriving township economy.