THE GAUTENG provincial government has established a fund with more than R500 million to help businesses affected by the recent looting and the Covid-19 pandemic to get back on their feet.
Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP) chief executive Saki Zamxaka made the announcement yesterday during an online engagement between the provincial government and black businesses.
Zamxaka said R250m would be allocated to the Township Economy Partnership Fund from an additional budget allocated by the provincial Department of Economic Development.
He said the GEP and the Industrial Development Corporation had already committed R150m each to a joint small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) fund.
“The Gauteng Province has allocated R250m to GEP for Covid-19 and interventions into the current crises as a result of violence and looting,” Zamxaka said.
“The GEP’s responsibility is to support the SMME sector – both financial and non-financial support.”
Hundreds of businesses in Gauteng have been left to pick up the pieces after they were vandalised, looted and torched during civil unrest.
Zamxaka said uninsured businesses affected by the recent civil unrest could apply for funding to enable them to resume trading again.
He said GEP funding for small enterprises was being revised and would be capped at R50 000 per enterprise, which was much higher than the current limit.
Zamxaka also said documentation was necessary for funding, as the beneficiary businesses had to be audited at some point. This applied to both formal businesses and informal businesses.
The provincial government yesterday engaged with more than 400 small businesses about rebuilding and revitalising the township economy.
Premier David Makhura said some of the government’s interventions included the Township Economic Development Bill, which was released in July last year and could be passed in the next four to six weeks.
“The bill is going to be an unprecedented piece of legislation which will change the way business is regulated, including the permit system and other government regulations which were not incentivising township businesses.”
Makhura said the province wanted to establish a set of Township Economy Funds targeting various sectors, such as retail, real estate, the digital economy, the taxi economy, manufacturing, and urban agriculture and agroprocessing, and to create a new partnership model between big businesses and township businesses.
“We are not only dealing with recent unrests and Covid-19 impact,” he said. “We are also dealing with a history of how the township business space was regulated, making it difficult for businesses to operate. We are also dealing with long-term interventions,” Makhura said.
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