Cape Town - Data released from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has revealed that more than 1 200 businesses have had to shut their doors this year.
Stats SA collects administrative information on liquidations from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. However, despite the high numbers, the latest stats are lower than those of 2022.
“The total number of liquidations (selling off assets and using the proceeds to pay off creditors and shareholders) decreased by 8.2% in September 2023 compared with September 2022,” said Stats SA.
When compared to the third quarter of 2022, the number of businesses that closed declined by 11% in the third quarter of 2023. The first nine months of 2023 also had a 13% drop when compared to the first nine months of 2022.
The industries that were affected the most were: Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing; mining and quarrying; manufacturing; electricity, gas and water; construction; trade, catering and accommodation; Transport, storage and communication; Financing, insurance, real estate and business services; community, social, personal services; unclassified.
However, James Vos, Mayco member for economic growth at the City of Cape Town, paints a different picture for the Western Cape. Vos says the Cape’s unemployment rate has decreased.
“According to StatsSA’s Quarterly Labour Force survey for the second quarter of 2023, Cape Town has added 263 000 new jobs over the last year and 56000 new jobs in the second quarter of 2023 alone,” he says.
“The metro’s unemployment rate fell by 7 percentage points year-onyear based on the expanded unemployment definition.”
Vos says the Western Cape has had five straight quarters of positive jobs growth, and consistently shows the lowest unemployment rate of the metros. “We are encouraged by Cape Town adding more jobs in the last quarter than all other metros combined, also helping to improve overall national jobs performance,” he says.
Vos credits the success of the City’s economic performance to its inclusive economic growth strategy (IEGS).
“With this IEGS, we have taken an unflinching, thorough view of Cape Town’s economic landscape and that of the global village in which it finds itself, and we have mapped out plans to drive opportunity,” he says.
“From call centres to marine manufacturing, IT, clothing and textile, the green economy and more, we are working on the ground via industry partners to grow skilled workforces that can meet the demands of incoming investors. For example, Cape Town has become the destination of choice for many of the world’s biggest call centre companies, with 72000 locally-based operators speaking to clients across the country and globe.”
Vos says they are working with small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), entrepreneurs and traders, already based in the metro, to not only keep their doors open, but to equip them with skills to expand.
“Under our business retention and expansion (BR&E) programme, we are assisting large and small businesses to strategise their operations and, where possible, help to expedite their development.”
Vos says the productivity efficiency programme, which is administered by Productivity South Africa, assists SMMEs in need of assistance.
“Last year, 18 businesses were supported by this one programme, resulting in the retention of hundreds of jobs,” he says.
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC Mireille Wenger says the Western Cape Government is determined to make the province the easiest place to do business in the country.
“As a part of achieving this, we have adopted an ambitious economic plan of action, which we call ‘Growth for Jobs’,” she said. “One of my top priorities is to support entrepreneurs and SMMEs, precisely because they are the driving force behind economic growth and job creation in the Western Cape and South Africa.
“Our 2023 small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) booster fund, run by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Dedat), has assisted 860 SMMEs since 2019, thereby helping to sustain 4977 jobs.
“In addition to this, the booster fund has also helped these SMMEs to grow, creating an additional 651 jobs.”