R1.5 billion approved to support businesses affected by July unrest: Patel

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Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) Minister Ebrahim Patel says R1.5 billion has been approved to support businesses affected by the looting and unrest in July.

He was briefing the media on the support extended to firms in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Patel says the unrest resulted in damage to hundreds of businesses in the provinces.

“As of today, the DTIC has approved R1.5 billion in direct support in 123 separate transactions.

These transactions would be where a company or association or intermediary put forward an application for support.

So when we count the number of physical sites or buildings that were affected, where we have now rendered support, it amounts to 320 business sites.”

Earlier this month, the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and the Solidarity Fund established a R450 million SMME Support Programme for businesses that suffered losses in the widespread unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal in July.

ONEF and the Solidarity Fund announce R450 million SMME Support Programme:

The damage to businesses has been estimated at over R30 billion. NEF CEO Philisiwe Mthethwa says the relief will consist of a combination of zero-rated loans and grants.

“A total of R450 million has been allocated to the NEF solidarity funds Humanitarian Crisis Relief . We call it a blended because it is going to be a combination of a loan portion and grant portion. So we are going to blend the loan that we will be providing at zero interest rate and the other portion is going to be coming in as a grant. We are obviously exceedingly grateful to our partners the Solidarity Fund Humanitarian Crisis Relief Funds committing a total of R150 million to allow for the grant portion to go to these businesses,” Mthethwa explained.