Gauteng premier David Makhura before delivering his state of the province address. Picture: Getrude Makhafola / ANA

Johannesburg - Illegal businesses and criminal syndicates disguised as township businesses will be thwarted by law enforcement authorities, Premier David Makhura said on Monday.

Makhura delivered his state of the province address in Alberton, Ekurhuleni. He said businesses in townships complain about criminal syndicates laundering money through businesses.

"Township entrepreneurs also complain about illegally operating businesses that sell toxic adulterated food stuff and counterfeit goods and further allege that money obtained through drugs and other illicit dealings is being laundered through some of the businesses," Makhura said.

"Many say they're punished by authorities instead of being supported to thrive. The people of Gauteng, let me make it clear - we will not allow global criminal syndicates to take over townships and displace genuine township businesses. We are determined to close any illegally operating business in every part of our province."

He said he had previously accompanied police to stop suspected illegal businesses in Dobsonville in Soweto, Johannesburg CBD and Germiston.

On the province's population, Makhura said it had grown from 7.8 million people in 1996 to 14.7 million, while its economy grew from R290 billion to R1.5 trillion in 2017.

"This makes Gauteng the most populous province in our country. Essentially, one in every four South Africans live in Gauteng. The number of people employed in the Gauteng economy has also doubled – from 2.6 million in 1996 to 5.163 million in 2018," Makhura said.

African News Agency (ANA)