The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has approved the release of R1.07 billion in funds for small businesses affected by the 2021 July unrest, supporting 211 firms and saving 9 452 jobs in the process.
The fund managed this with the assistance of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) as well as the Solitary Fund’s Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund (HCRF).
The dtic contributed R650 million towards unrest relief, while the NEF redirected R100 million from its balance sheet and the Solidarity Fund contributed R273 million.
The riots, which gripped the nation for nine days last July, brought chaos to parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, damaging 200 malls and leaving about 3 000 stores looted, costing retailers R1.5 billion in stock.
“The civil unrest was far-reaching and severe, resulting in damage estimated in excess of R30 billion, with more than 150 000 jobs placed at risk,” NEF CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa says.
“The manufacturing and retail sectors were dealt the hardest blow, and 161 malls in both provinces experienced severe damage to property and stock.”
Apart from the financial impact of the riots, a total of 354 people lost their lives.
The majority of the funds distributed by the NEF went to businesses in the retail (26%), real estate (26%), services activities, particularly those in food and beverages (10%), transportation and storage (9%) and manufacturing (5%) sectors.
The key qualifying criteria for businesses looking for assistance, among others, was to be an enterprise owned and managed by black entrepreneurs.
“Among the criteria for funding, applicants had to be a registered company, close corporation or co-operative in good standing with the South African Revenue Service,” according to the NEF.
“Applicants were also required to demonstrate that jobs lost would be restored or increased within 12 months of receiving the funding, and to demonstrate that they were negatively impacted by the riots and unrests in both provinces.”
Some of the beneficiaries of the fund were located in KZN’s KwaNongoma, iXopo, uMkhanyakude, Jozini, Umlazi, Newcastle, uMgungundlovu, uMzinyathi, Ugu, KwaMashu and Gauteng’s Soweto, Alexandra, Katlehong, Daveyton, Vosloorus, Soshanguve, Orange Farm and Sebokeng.