Relief fund not enough

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the assistance that has been given to small businesses in the province since the start of the national lockdown on 26 March 2020. However, the R40 million that has been set aside to assist small businesses is too little to make a dent in the suffering of businesses, informal traders and spaza shops. During a question and answer session in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) on Tuesday, the MEC for Economic Development, Morakane Mosupyoe revealed that the department aims to provide support to 4000 informal traders, small businesses and spaza shops. MEC Mosupyoe said to date the department has received 144 applications for financial support. Furthermore, the businesses which will receive assistance from the department should be operating in Gauteng for at least 12 months. While providing financial support is a step in the right direction, the 4000 small businesses including informal traders and spaza shops that will receive assistance is small, considering that the province is likely to lose over 1 million jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Using the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller to process funding relief for small businesses will not be effective as it is incapacitated and incompetent, and it will not be able to reach all businesses that need assistance. The DA is calling on the MEC and Premier David Makhura to provide targeted assistance to small businesses that employ many people. In so doing, government will be able to assist small businesses to save as many jobs as possible. In addition, we are also calling on government to include as criteria the number of people employed by the small businesses that apply for financial assistance.

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