The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) together with the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) say they have started offering financial and non-financial support to all the businesses that were affected by looting and vandalism in parts of the country.

DTIC Minister Ebrahim Patel says R3.9 billion in funding from various government departments has been reprioritised towards supporting distressed business.

Patel says government will focus its efforts on repairing damaged infrastructure, re-establishing supply lines and rebuilding investor confidence.

“The Department of Trade Industry and competition and the department of small business development has reprioritised R1 billion of funding from other programmes that will be shifted now to this response fund. This is being supplemented by R1.3 billion that National Treasury will make available. The industrial development corporation has earmarked R1.4 billion from reprioritising funds that they will now bring to this effort and the National Empowerment Fund will put in R2 million.”

Earlier. government sent out a strong message to businesses that only tax-compliant ones will be able to access funds from its planned R36.1 billion relief fund.

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It said it’s exploring mechanisms of identifying those that have been affected by the violence and looting that recently rocked KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Government will then come up with an appropriate scheme to provide assistance.

Meanwhile, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said to avoid fraud and corruption when assisting affected employees, it will deal with them directly. He says when they dealt with employers previously, the funds did not reach the intended beneficiaries.

“It will not be free-for-all. The criteria to determine who qualifies is going to be stringent and payments will be based on the resources available. We have the experiences … when we started this process, there was a lot of fraud. There was a lot of inflation of numbers and we are going to be looking (out) for that. Of course, we say once beaten, twice shy. We have to be very, very careful,” says Nxesi.