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Business recovery funding for riot-hit North Coast traders

Home Business Management Disaster Management Business recovery funding for riot-hit North Coast traders

SEVENTY informal traders in iLembe on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast who were affected by the July 2021 unrest have received business recovery funding.

The R5-million relief fund is the result of a partnership between the Enterprise iLembe Development Agency and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Some of the traders had previously received once-off disbursements from the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) but for many others it will be the first time they are receiving relief funding.

Enterprise iLembe’s CEO Linda Mncube said the iLembe District Municipality, as its shareholder, instructed government support to be sought to assist local businesses.

“At the time many businesses were already not doing well because of COVID-19 and the July unrest made existing problems worse. We then applied for assistance, both for COVID-19 and the July unrest, and we were able to access the IDC business relief fund.”

Mncube said an impact study was performed by Enterprise iLembe, and it was estimated that the direct cost of damages was R322 million, with about 1200 jobs lost.

“In response to this, the IDC introduced a relief package to support businesses. Enterprise iLembe was approved as a Strategic Implementation Partner (SIP) for the identification, assessment, adjudication and disbursement of funds to affected businesses.”

He said informal traders will receive a once-off disbursement and SMMEs will be assisted to rebuild their stores and small businesses.

“The most important part of our plan is to provide business support for informal traders and SMMEs where we will provide training for them to operate, manage and grow their businesses and to educate them about the required compliance documentation required such as SARS, FICA, CIPC etc.

“All informal traders will receive a standard amount and the SMMEs will receive a certain amount that will be determined by the value of damage done to their business following the July looting and unrest,” he said.

Naomi Koeberg, Senior Local Economic Development Manager at the IDC said, “The pandemic affected a large number of informal traders and SMMEs and it is important that we help create a platform to assist them by growing their businesses.

“Our beneficiaries have worked extremely hard, and it was disturbing to have seen the negative impact of the July looting and unrest had on their businesses. We hope that this funding will help rebuild and improve the informal traders and SMMEs’ businesses and help support their families in the future,” she said.

iLembe District Municipality Deputy Mayor James Van Wye said the informal traders and SMMEs had struggled to rebuild their businesses on their own as they depended solely on the income they receive from trading.

“Through the Enterprise iLembe relief fund, these businesses will have more opportunities and can continue to grow their businesses in the future,” he said.

Maphumulo Local Municipality Mayor Siboniso Nyathikazi urged beneficiaries to not waste the money but to use it towards rebuilding their businesses which will ultimately benefit not just themselves but their families and communities in the long term.

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