Looted businesses need urgent financial support

In response to the last week of violence and looting, the DA called on the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) to financially support small businesses that may close permanently after the unrest in Gauteng and other parts of the country.

The last week of nationwide crime has also hit businesses in Boksburg, where many formal retailers and informal traders, including businesses in various parts of Benoni and foreign-owned stores, have been targeted. .

The unrest also saw businesses, mostly retailers, temporarily shutting down as a precautionary measure.

The party described the looting and destruction of property as a “double blow” for SMMEs, who have also had to face more difficult economic conditions as a result of the pandemic.

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While the violent events have caused significant damage to large retailers, the DA warned that it will ultimately be the small and medium-sized businesses that are unlikely to reopen.

Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development MakashuGana Le pointed out that many SMEs, unlike large corporations, do not have insurance. Therefore, it will be terribly difficult for small business owners to find their feet without financial support.

“For this and more reasons, GEP should immediately release the R250 million they have been sitting on since last year to help small businesses that have been damaged and looted in the recent unrest that has erupted in the province. .

“In many cases, affected small businesses may not have adequate insurance or no insurance to cover the damage and loss of stock incurred, which can lead to their permanent closure, having already suffered economic foreclosure restrictions,” Gana said.

Gana pointed out that the township economies suffered a near fatal blow from looting and destruction of property and that many township residents employed by the targeted shopping centers lost their jobs.

“So many other households are about to face tough times, wondering how they’re going to put food on the table. The R250-m will go a long way in helping small businesses get back on their feet, saving jobs and getting the provincial economy back on track.

“In addition, the government should work with communities and chambers of commerce to ensure the safety of businesses in the province, especially those investing in townships. “

Looting and destruction is also expected to hamper investment in communes, with the private sector reluctant to invest again in affected areas.

“Small businesses affected by the looting deserve all the support they can get from the government, as the township economy is a key driver of job creation in the province. We will continue to push the GEP to provide support to small businesses so that the province’s economic recovery can be achieved, ”Gana promised.

In light of this, this publication sent media inquiries to both the metro and the GEP to find out whether authorities in the relevant departments are working on back-up plans for businesses affected by the riots – especially with a special emphasis on financial assistance to uninsured civil unrest.

Chaos and looting began in KwaZulu-Natal and then spread to Gauteng and other provinces since the recent arrest of former President Jacob Zuma. Initially, the demonstrators demanded the release of the former president; however, the situation subsequently turned into criminal acts.

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