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Yes, proposed law aims to ban foreign nationals from running businesses in some South African townships 

“If draft provincial legislation is passed, foreign nationals in Gauteng will be barred from opening and operating certain businesses in the province's townships,” claims a message posted on Facebook in South Africa on 28 September 2020.

It shows a photo of two women walking on a dirt road with shacks and a spaza shop behind them.

Facebook’s fact-checking system has flagged the post as possibly false. But it’s true. 

Controversy over proposed ban

The Gauteng Township Economic Development Draft Bill was opened for public comment on 30 September. One of its aims is to “promote a growing and inclusive economy that harnesses the potential of all citizens and persons with permanent residency status”.

The bill proposes to reserve certain businesses in certain townships “exclusively and solely” for “ownership and operation” by citizens of South Africa or people with permanent resident status.

The businesses include certain types of farming, fishing, mining, manufacturing, trade and more. The townships where foreign nationals without permanent residency will be banned from running these businesses are yet to be determined.

Foreign nationals can apply for permanent residence if they have been living in South Africa with a work permit for five years, if they intend to establish a business in the country, or if they are financially independent, among other qualifiers

Civil society organisations have expressed concern over the bill and plan to make written submissions questioning the proposed ban. Political and economic commentators have also questioned whether such a ban will lead to economic growth, as claimed in the bill. – Africa Check


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