Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Johannesburg - The Gauteng government plans to pilot micro-financing loans and grants to informal traders in the province, it announced on Thursday.

The province would work with municipalities and consult the informal sector to finalise an informal trading strategy, the economic cluster of MECs said in a statement.

“The persistent challenges facing the informal traders in our towns and cities remain a serious concern. We are determined to address the plight of informal traders, many of whom are women and men who are engaged in the sector as survivalists and breadwinners.”

Hawkers in Pretoria have complained that Tshwane metro police were harassing them and confiscating their stock.

Members of an organisation representing them, the Tshwane Barekisi Forum, have called for the resignation of Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

Previously in Johannesburg, the municipality removed all street vendors, including those legally entitled to trade, as part of an operation to register them.

The province further intended to regenerate old township industrial sites to stimulate the township economy.

“In pursuit of this objective, we will roll out the township enterprise hubs across Gauteng's oldest townships,” the MECs said.

The plan was to refurbish infrastructure in and around townships to attract private sector investment.

“We have earmarked old industrial parks in Residentia, Katlehong, Babelegi, Ekandustria, and Emndeni for this intervention.”

The cluster hoped the revamping of Metrorail systems in Gauteng would lead to further economic growth.

“The location of the R51 billion train manufacturing plant in Ekurhuleni presents enormous opportunities for the re-industrialisation of the region... This investment will create not less than thousands of direct jobs and indirect jobs in related industries.”

Plans to create an airport city around the OR Tambo International Airport were expected to be finalised during the year.

“Over the next few years, Gauteng will take the initiative to create new nodes of economic development, and new cities in Modderfontein and Lanseria in Johannesburg, and Savanna in Sedibeng.” - Sapa