SMMEs ravaged by unrest, KZN disasters received aid: Ndabeni-Abrahams

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The Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, says that small businesses impacted by the July Unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as those affected by floods in  the province and Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape, received a financial injection.

Ndabeni-Abrahams revealed this information while addressing questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) regarding the government’s efforts to support struggling small businesses.

During the session, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP Nhlanhla Hadebe raised concerns about the plan to revive businesses that were on the verge of closure or had already shut down.

Hadebe asked, “What is the department’s plan to resuscitate businesses that are on the verge of closing or have closed to be opened and operate from a basis of stability?” In response, Ndabeni-Abrahams highlighted that the government had taken steps to assist affected businesses by providing funds for rebuilding damaged infrastructure.

“Our government has allocated R7 billion to revitalise the infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal, which also includes support for small businesses in rural areas. We believe that they should benefit from this initiative,” stated Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Regarding the floods in the Eastern Cape, she mentioned that approximately R14 million had been allocated to support small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) affected by the disaster. However, she acknowledged that not all affected businesses had received financial assistance.

Ndabeni-Abrahams acknowledged, “While we received more applications from the formal sector, we faced budgetary constraints that prevented us from assisting all of them directly. Nonetheless, we directed them to other organisations such as the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and other relevant bodies that can provide assistance.”

The minister also emphasised the significance of supporting small businesses in rural areas, highlighting that they were among the beneficiaries of the financial aid provided. The government’s efforts aim to help these businesses recover and regain stability in the aftermath of the recent unrest and natural disasters.

As the government continues to prioritise the revival of small businesses, Ndabeni-Abrahams assured the NCOP members that further measures were being explored to support struggling enterprises across the country.

SMMEs struggle to stay afloat due to proper linkages with other businesses: