50 SMMEs and 100 jobs saved by R12.5 million Solar PV installations at informal trading hubs across the Western Cape

28 Apr 2024 in Where We Govern

Premier Alan Winde, and Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, visited the Arendsness Trading Hub in Wellington, one of 12 such hubs across the province that have been enabled to keep Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprise (SMME) businesses open, when Eskom turns the power off.

Premier Winde noted, “The Western Cape has a diverse economy with SMMEsat the forefront of our growth. We have to continue helping small business owners and entrepreneurs to keep growing and thriving, because small businesses create jobs and seeing more people experiencing the dignity andpride of having a job and being able to provide for themselves and their loved ones is a key priority of this government!” 

He added, “One way in which we enabling job creation is by supporting small businesses with energy solutions like the Alternative Energy Support Programme.  Many SMMEs, particularly in the informal and township economies, do not have the resources to buffer the impact of load shedding, and so we must find ways to assist. I am delighted to see our interventions helping small businesses realise their full potential.”

“SMMEs are the backbone of the economy of the Western Cape economy and more so in areas outside of the metro, creating up to 70% of the jobs in South Africa. In the Western Cape, we work hard to make it as easy as possible for all residents to set up and expand their businesses, so that they can create more jobs,” said Minister Wenger.

“Through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism’s (DEDAT) Alternative Energy Support Programme, we allocated R12.5 million in the 2023/24 financial year to install Solar PV backup systems at trading hubs where small businesses operate, to make sure that they can stay open andkeep doing business, especially when national loadshedding hits. We are assisting at least 50 businesses to stay open, and keep trading, sustaining more than 100 jobs, despite power outages,” added Minister Wenger.

The Alternative Energy Support Programme has installed 12 Solar Backup systems at 12 municipal SMME trading hubs in 7 municipalities, which include: 

  • Drakenstein  
  • Stellenbosch  
  • Cape Aghulhas  
  • Theewaterskloof 
  • Laingsburg  
  • Oudtshoorn  
  • Mossel Bay  

“At the heart of our economic action plan, Growth For Jobs, is the understanding that it is the private sector, and particularly, SMMEs, that create jobs. Guided by G4J we are on a mission to achieve a trillion-randjobs-rich, inclusive, sustainable, diverse, and resilient provincial economy, that is growing at between 4% and 6% per year in real terms by 2035 thus enabling the creation of between 600 000 and 1 million new jobs. Helping SMMEs to stay open is one of the ways that we are supporting and enabling the growth of SMMEs, as key drivers of jobs creation,” Minister Wenger continued.

“We are determined to do as much as we can to shield small and township-based businesses from the devasting impact of power cuts, so that together, we can achieve breakout economic growth and enable hundreds of thousands of new jobs that we need to lift more and more people out of poverty,” concluded Minister Wenger.