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Chinese business creating jobs and boosting trade in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- It was a blistering Saturday mid-day and everyone at China City Mall in downtown Johannesburg was at position of production.

John Chimbaira, 28, was busy revising his fork-lifter up and down loading commodities. Casper Magena, 30, a security guard at the main entrance, was busy opening the gates for the in and out going vehicles and pedestrians. Across the road was a group of men and women each awaiting optimistically to get job. They were confident that one or two was going to be employed by the end of the day. Along the street was a fleet of private taxis some dropping customers, some ranking waiting for customers from the mall carrying big plastic bags known in South Africa as "China bags" because they carry large quantities.

The China City Mall, run by the Chinese has created booming business for taxis owners and employment for hundreds job seekers in Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa. Among those marketing jobs, anyone who is not lucky for that day will be at the same spot tomorrow morning hoping for the best. One can spend one or two weeks coming everyday without getting a job. Some will give- up and try going to construction sites around Johannesburg. But a father of one Wiriranai Mutogi, 25, from Zimbabwe will never abdicate. "

China Malls are better source of marketing for a job these days. They are very busy and require a lot of labor everyday", Wiriranai who used to get part time jobs at the mall told Xinhua."You might not get it today but you can't spend long time". "Like them or not they are creating jobs for many people in South Africa these days", another man among the group said. Many job seekers mainly foreigners who used to look for jobs in farms and as house maids are now turning to Chinese business especially in China Malls around Johannesburg. And because of scarcity of employment South Africans who in the past used to shun working for Chinese and looking for jobs that involves carrying heavy loads or being shop assistance are also taking china mall as green pastures. "I come here because there is hope.

It's better that just casting CVs seating home. Many of my friends who recently attended forklift training are working contract jobs here and it better and promising", South African Tshepo Mhlongo who is armed with code ten driver's license told Xinhua. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2010 realised by the Statistics South Africa (Stats SA ) the number of people not economically active in South Africa rose by 1, 071, 000 annually, with 624, 000 being discouraged job seekers.

The survey reveals that the unemployment rate increased 0.9 of a percentage point to 25. 2%. "Since January this year I have been going around china wholesale malls looking for contact or part time jobs. I tell you its better than going to construction sites. Here they can call everyone for a job to load and off load trucks for the whole day, that job can expand to a week contacts and its better than sitting, " Maxwell Nota told Xinhua.

When Xinhua visited one of the China City Malls in Johannesburg on Saturday morning many women were seen buying lots of cloths and blankets from various shops. Taxes parked outside loading large China bags. "People are coming from as far as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi to buy cloths for sale to their respective countries.

These people (Chinese) are helping many people to feed their families", said Chimbaira. "This mall is keeping me busy everyday, taking customers to various bus stations. It has boosted my business and that of many tax owners operation here. Many are joining but we can't fight for customers because they are so many", Nkululeko Mazibhuko, a tax owner told Xinhua.

According to women who identified themselves as informal cross boarder traders, besides creating jobs in South Africa and for people in the country Chinese are helping many cross boarder traders to feed their families across the SADC region. Chinese businesses in South Africa have become a major source of commodities and materials for trading in the region.

They are indirectly playing a crucial role towards informal cross boarder trading which has recently emerged as significant towards regional integration and boosting regional finances. According to a report released early this year by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) the average value contribution of informal cross border trade in the SADC region is 17.6 billion U.S. dollars per year, accounting for 30-40 percent of intra-SADC Trade.

"I always come here three or four times a month to buy cloths and blankets for sale back home", Malawian cross boarder trader Mercy Banda told Xinhua. "This business is helping me to send my children to school."

But 31 year old Lillian Mazimure, another cross boarder trader from Zimbabwe, still has a problem with the Chinese. "It is very difficulty to communicate one can't negotiate business with them. They can't speak English. It's just a yes or no and a, this and that talk," Lillian told Xinhua.

"If they can learn English their and our business can grow well because some end up not coming again."

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