Mangaung Metro Municipality has recognised an area in Freedom Square, Bloemfontein, as a prime spot for business development. Executive Mayor, Olly Mlamleli, spoke to residents of Ward 6 about plans to turn informal traders alongside the bustling M10 Road into mainstream businesses.
According to Mlamleli there is a need for the township economy in Mangaung to become more formalised. So a business centre will be erected in the already busy area, which is easily accessible to many residents.
“We have identified this land where there are already existing businesses. This is a community project that will benefit them and many others in time. We would like the businesses that are already here to be part of the project as we turn this piece of land into a retail centre,” she said.
The centre will be powered by Letsatsi Power Project, a solar energy which aims to supply businesses and households with clean and renewable energy. According to CEO Thigesh Velen, the project is intended to improve the operations of small businesses.
“We engage in this mini retail centre with the Metro and the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea) as a way to collectively support the development of small business. This will be also be an incubation area where we will offer continued support and monitor the progress of these businesses,” said Velen.
Presently, there are various businesses that are currently operating on the patch of open land, including a car wash, tuck shop and takeaway outlet. More businesses will have an opportunity to set up shop at the centre once it has been completed. Some of the infrastructure of the centre will include industrial containers.
MEC of Destea, Makalo Mohale, explained that the centre would be operational this year. “Through this endeavour we want to support these businesses so they become better organised and formalised. In a very short space of time the facility will be fully operational. Our target is to have this open before the end of this year,” said the newly appointed MEC.